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Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 12:56 GMT
Stephen Lawrence's mother condemns critics
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was killed at a bus stop in Eltham
The mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence has spoken out against elements in British society which she said did not want the Macpherson report to be implemented.

Doreen Lawrence, whose son was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths in 1993, said opponents of racial equality were hoping time would lessen the impact of the report into police handling of her son's death.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The concern is growing greater and greater as time goes on that in some circles they are treading water, waiting for times to change and people to forget what has happened, so they can go back and not implement what was in the report."

The Macpherson report concluded that the police investigation into Stephen's death revealed that "institutional racism" was widespread in the Metropolitan Police.

Institutional racism

Critics of the Macpherson report have included the Tory leader William Hague, who said it had led to every police officer in Britain being branded racist.

Doreen Lawrence
Doreen Lawrence says a lot of people want to forget about the Macpherson report

He pledged to "take on and defeat the attitude of the condescending liberal elite that has never trusted the police and now wants us to believe they are all racists".

Mrs Lawrence gave her support to the government's proposals to change the double jeopardy rule which could see somebody being tried twice for murder if new evidence came to light.

The move is anticipated following a report from the Law Commission into the double jeopardy rule in England and Wales.

It followed directly on from the Macpherson report, which recommended such a change in the law.

Lord Macpherson
Lord Macpherson accused the police of 'institutionalised racism'

Three of the five suspects, Neil Acourt, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight, were formally acquitted when the case against them collapsed in 1996.

Mrs Lawrence said she was hopeful a conviction could be secured against the three although the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) David Calvert-Smith said he was not optimistic that could happen, even if the double jeopardy rule was changed.

Mrs Lawrence said: "My understanding is that the law will be changed only in the case where there is strong new evidence.

"Hopefully, in my case, that could happen. The original police investigation bungled and misrepresented the evidence, but I do live in hope that something will turn up."

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See also:

06 Mar 01 | Europe
Britain to scrap double jeopardy?
04 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Macpherson receives death threats
25 Mar 99 | Stephen Lawrence
The Lawrence inquiry
23 Aug 99 | UK
Lawrence friend sues police
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