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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Damilola defendant may take legal action
Video footage of Damilola released by police
Damilola bled to death on a North Peckham estate
Lawyers acting for the first defendant to walk free in the Damilola Taylor murder trial are considering taking legal action against the police.

The 17-year-old was the first to be found not guilty, on the directions of the judge, during the trial at the Old Bailey.

The defendant, known as Boy C, was cleared after the evidence of the prosecution's key witness was thrown out as unreliable.

The prosecution offered no further evidence against Boy C and the jury found him not, on the directions of the judge, Mr Justice Hooper.

Proof needed

On Thursday the youth's solicitor Greg Stewart said an action was being considered on the basis that the police mishandled the evidence of the witness - a 14-year-old girl who was code-named Bromley.

Boy C's legal team would need to prove the prosecution was brought against him without reasonable and probable cause and with malice.

If successful, he could win damages for the nine months he spent on remand after being charged with Damilola's murder.


I think these proceedings were a real scandal

Sean Longley

Mr Stewart said: "When Bromley's evidence was excluded by the judge they offered no further evidence so they accepted that was the case against my client.

"But I think it was fairly obvious to anyone who had any sustained dealings with Bromley that she was a completely unreliable witness.

"The police had tried to test her evidence many times and it failed every test," he added.

He said most people would be astonished the police did not recognise "the signs coming from that young girl".

"When it finally cemented into the version they settled with, nothing checked out, there were seriously obvious flaws," he said.

Different name

The girl should not have appeared at court in the first place, he claimed.

"What she was saying clearly didn't make any sense," he said.

Boy C's lawyers will decide on a prosecution in the next few weeks.

The youth was originally picked out by Bromley in a video line-up.

But at the time she failed to positively identify him and just shortly afterwards she said he looked "a little bit" like the fourth boy she claimed to have seen surrounding Damilola.

She also called him by a different name.

A solicitor for the other boy cleared earlier in the trial - the 15-year-old known as Boy D also condemned the prosecution as "scandalous".

Sean Longley said: "He spent a very long time in custody on evidence that was specious at best.

"I think these proceedings were a real scandal."

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout

BACKGROUND

PANORAMA SPECIAL

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT

CBBC NEWS
See also:

25 Apr 02 | England
25 Apr 02 | England
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