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Friday, June 12, 1998 Published at 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK


Lawrence five to challenge order

The men have been called to the Lawrence inquiry

The five original suspects questioned by police in the Stephen Lawrence murder case have been granted leave to challenge an order forcing them to appear at the inquiry into the teenager's death.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence: stabbed to death]
Stephen Lawrence: stabbed to death
They had been due to be called by the inquiry in south London this coming Monday.

Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racially-motivated attack at a bus shelter in south London in 1993.

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 the murder.

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

Leave to seek judicial review

In a hearing on Friday, Mr Justice Laws granted the five leave to apply for judicial review of the decision to summon them to the inquiry.

The judge said: "It seems to me there is an arguable question here as to whether the guilt or innocence of these men goes to the issue which the tribunal should properly be considering."

The judge granted leave for a full hearing and said it might be possible for it to take place at the High Court in London next week.

'Unfair and unlawful'

Charles Conway, appearing for the five, had argued that if they were compelled to give evidence to the inquiry they would in reality be facing an "unfair and unlawful" trial for murder.

He said the questions it was proposed they should answer were outside the remit of the terms of the inquiry which relates "to policing and the police investigation only."

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