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Wednesday, October 29, 1997 Published at 03:37 GMT

World: Americas

British businessman off death row

A British businessman, convicted of a double murder in Miami 10 years ago, has been taken off death row.

A Florida judge lifted the death sentence imposed on Krishna Maharaj in 1987 but rejected an application for a retrial.

Maharaj, convicted of murdering two Jamaican men in a hotel, has always protested his innocence and his lawyers will now apply for a re-examination of the case.

Lawyer Benedict Kuehne said: "We are extremely gratified that Krishna's death sentence was vacated because he does not belong on death row, and we are very confident that the Supreme Court will order a trial.

"Krishna was thrilled with the result but recognises that we all have work to do to achieve a complete victory."

Maharaj, 58, grew up in Trinidad in the West Indies and moved aged 21 to Britain where he made a fortune importing bananas and West Indian produce.

In November 1987, a jury found him guilty of murdering alleged Jamaican drug dealers Duane Moo Young, 53, and his son Derrick, 23.

He was said to have blasted the pair to death in a hotel suite because of a business feud over property interests.

Maharaj was given a life sentence for the murder of Derrick Moo Young and a death sentence for the murder of Duane Moo Young.

But he said his original trial lawyer mishandled the case and that the prosecution withheld crucial evidence, claiming he was 40 miles away when the crimes took place.

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