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Wednesday, June 10, 1998 Published at 03:19 GMT 04:19 UK


Lawrence appeal win

Doreen and Neville Lawrence "frustrated police"

Four men called before the Stephen Lawrence inquiry have won an appeal against a ruling denying them legal aid in their bid to stay silent.

The Legal Aid Board said the men would now receive help in their application for a judicial review.

[ image: Stephen: murdered at bus stop]
Stephen: murdered at bus stop
The four were among five men due to attend the public inquiry at Elephant and Castle, south London, next Monday.

The five - David Norris, 21, Neil Acourt, 22, his brother Jamie, 21, Luke Knight, 20, and Gary Dobson, 22 - have all at various times been charged with Stephen's murder at a south London bus stop in 1993.

Neil Acourt, Mr Dobson and Mr Knight were acquitted at the Old Bailey in 1996. The charges against Jamie Acourt and Mr Norris never came to court.

It is understood that lawyers for the Acourt brothers, Gary Dobson and David Norris - who now have legal aid - are to apply for a judicial review as soon as possible.

The move came as the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police admitted to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry that his patience was "wearing thin" with the bereaved parents after their son was killed.

'Enough is enough'

David Osland, who held the third highest rank in the force when he retired, said he and the murder team became frustrated by Doreen and Neville Lawrence's criticisms of the investigation.

Mr Osland also said he stood by his suggestion last year that officers involved in the investigation should sue the teenager's bereaved parents over public criticisms they had made of the police effort to find the killers.

He made his remarks after a report commissioned by the Police Complaints Authority severely criticised the investigation into Stephen's death.

"The Metropolitan Police has let them down, but there comes a time when enough is enough," he told the inquiry.

But Mr Osland apologised to the Lawrence family for failing to catch Stephen's killers.

"I've made it quite clear on a number of occasions that in 3 Area we let down the Lawrence family and I am prepared to apologise for that."

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