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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Lawrence pair's 'racist attack' on officer
David Norris and Neil Acourt
The men appeared before the Stephen Lawrence inquiry
Two men who were charged but later cleared of involvement in the death of Stephen Lawrence, carried out a "racist attack" on a black police officer, a court has heard.

Neil Acourt is alleged to have driven a car towards detective constable Gareth Reid while passenger David Norris threw a drink at him and yelled out a racist name, a jury heard.

Woolwich Crown Court was told Mr Reid recognised the pair because of media coverage they received during the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Mr Norris, 25, from Chislehurst, Kent, and Mr Acourt, 27, from Greenwich, south-east London, deny racially-aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress.

Colour motivation

Ian Darling, prosecuting, said the pair abused the policeman on 11 May last year.

"It is the Crown's case that at the time of that behaviour, what motivated them was a hostility directed towards Gareth Reid, by virtue of one reason and one reason alone, his colour."

Mr Darling said the detective constable, who had been a police officer since 1990, was off-duty and returning home in the early evening.


It was in effect an unjustified racist attack, and very much real

Ian Darling, prosecutor

He was crossing Well Hall Road in Eltham, south-east London, when he heard two men shouting and thought he recognised the driver of a red car.

"His first thought was the driver was a man called Jamie Acourt.

"Jamie is the brother of this defendant, Neil Acourt."

Mr Reid also thought he recognised the front-seat passenger as Mr Norris, he said.

Media spotlight

"The defendant Neil Acourt, together with his brother Jamie Acourt, and David Norris, were three of the five suspects in the Stephen Lawrence murder and subsequent investigation.

"And as a consequence these individuals received a colossal amount of media attention."

Charges against Mr Norris were dropped before they reached court while Mr Acourt was acquitted in a private prosecution brought by Mr Lawrence's family.

Mr Darling said the car they were in veered towards him and as it went past he heard a racist term shouted out.

One of the men then allegedly threw a drinks container at Mr Reid, narrowly missing him.

The case continues.


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