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EDITIONS
 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 13:35 GMT
Damilola witness 'thrown to wolves'
Damilola Taylor
Damilola bled to death in a stairwell in south London
A 14-year-old witness was "thrown to the wolves" when called to give evidence in the Damilola Taylor murder trial, child law expert Allan Levy QC has told BBC News.

Bishop of Birmingham John Sentamu's report into the case is particularly critical of the handling of 'Witness Bromley', whose crucial evidence was thrown out of court because of her unreliability.

And Mr Levy told BBC News: "This girl should never have been called to give evidence.

"She was inherently unreliable because of her personality and character."

I hope it never happens again

Child law expert Allan Levy QC

Despite her testimony being unbelievable, the girl "was thrown to the wolves and cross-examined for a number of days," Mr Levy said.

"I am very disturbed by that and hope it never happens again."

Mr Levy said he was shocked the witness's evidence had not been better evaluated before she went to court.

Bishop Sentamu's report also criticises "the absence of any process to test the veracity of Bromley's testimony before trial".

Bishop Sentamu
Bishop Sentamu led a six-month inquiry

"The apparent differences between the way courts treat vulnerable young persons who are witnesses rather than victims or defendants requires further attention," it says.

But Mr Levy was quick to advise against any over-reaction.

"Our whole adversarial system is based on the prosecution bringing a case and having to prove it," he said.

"A person is innocent until proved guilty - so the great emphasis is on the prosecution to prove their case by admissible evidence."

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

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