Sunday, February 21, 1999 Published at 20:46 GMT
Judge eases Lawrence report gag
Stephen Lawrence: Murder case unsolved
A senior judge has partially overturned the government's ban on publishing leaked extracts from the Lawrence inquiry report.
Home Secretary Jack Straw obtained the injunction on Saturday evening. It stopped the Sunday Telegraph publishing details of the report into the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Newspapers argued that, with more than 200,000 issues for sale before the injunction came into force, the story was already in the public domain. Therefore it was nonsense to restrict further publication.
The Home Office said Mr Straw stood by his decision, despite Sunday's appeal ruling.
Mr Straw was bitterly criticised by newspaper editors and the Tories for obtaining the injunction.
Although the report is due to be officially published on Wednesday, Mr Straw said that - given its importance - he had to act.
"It is of extreme importance, the result of this inquiry, to the family but also to quite a number of police officers against whom allegations have been made," he told BBC Radio 4's World this Weekend.
"When I heard of the fact that the Sunday Telegraph were running what I understood to be a partial and selective account of this report I took the view that first of all that was profoundly unfair to the family and the police officers involved and very unfair to Parliament as well."
"There is no issue of national security involved at all. There is no recommendation thought to be in the Macpherson report which in any way will upset the Lawrence family.
But Eltham's current MP, Clive Efford, said the government was right to obtain the injunction.
"It would be a great shame if the force of the report were lost in a media frenzy. It is too important to be kicked around like a football," he told the BBC.
He said: "This report has been selectively leaked for months now.
No one has been convicted of murdering Stephen. Three suspects were cleared of a murder charge at the Old Bailey in 1996.