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Monday, 29 July, 2002, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Appeal judges' verdict on Dando evidence
Lord Woolf
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, considered the case
Three senior Court of Appeal judges have rejected claims by lawyers for Barry George that the evidence used to convict him of Jill Dando's murder was "flimsy".

Here are the main points of the judges' ruling in which they reject the defence case.

  • IDENTIFICATION: The defence argued that the delay in arresting George meant witnesses were no longer reliable and that witnesses did not identify him on a video parade.

    The judges said: "We do not consider that the cumulative effect of delay and adverse publicity was such as to render a fair trial no longer possible.

    "The trial which took place was fair."

    On identification, the judges ruled: "We are satisfied that there was evidence properly admitted and properly left to the jury for their consideration.

    "It was evidence from which the jury could conclude that each witness saw the same man and that the man was the appellant, Barry George."

    They said that when all the identification evidence was taken into account there was "compelling evidence that the appellant had been at the scene of the crime at the relevant time".

  • FORENSIC EVIDENCE: The defence pointed out that there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence linking George to the crime.

    In addition, they claimed a crucial speck of firearms residue found on George's coat could have accidentally got there as police handled evidence.

    The appeal judges said they considered the jury were fully entitled to reject the evidence that the coat had been innocently contaminated and accept contrary evidence that this was not so.

    They also pointed to a fibre on the victim consistent with having come from George's clothing. In association with other evidence, it showed a two-way connection by forensic evidence between George and Miss Dando.

  • TRIAL JUDGE: The defence criticised the trial judge Mr Justice Gage after it appeared that jurors deliberating on the guilt or innocence George may have continued their discussions during their stay at a hotel.

    The appeal judges concluded that Mr Justice Gage had used his powers in an "exemplary manner" and the court did not consider that his conclusions could be faulted. In addition, the appeal judges cited several other pieces of evidence, which independently could be seen as coincidences, but when put together offered compelling proof that George had committed the crime.

    • George lied about his association with firearms. For example, the police found a photograph of him in military combat clothing holding a gun not dissimilar from the murder weapon
    • The fact that he showed an obsession with Jill Dando and other female television presenters as shown by his collection of photographs and the like found by the police at his home
    • He lied to police when interviewed
    • He gave a flawed alibi statement.

    The judges said in a 60-page ruling: "The jury could well have thought it could not have been a coincidence that the person identified should: live close to the scene of the murder; be in the vicinity of the murder on the day and at the time in question; be interested in firearms and Jill Dando and, when interviewed, have told lies about his movements at the time.

    "To this has to be added the scientific evidence which involved further coincidences."

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