Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Stephen Lawrence murder: reaction to sentencing of Gary Dobson and David Norris.
• Gary Dobson sentenced to minimum of 15 years two months
• David Norris sentenced to minimum of 14 years three months
The general feeling seems to be that the sentences are too short, although this seems to be tempered by relief that Dobson and Norris have at least been convicted, 19 years after the murder.
Vikram Dodd reports a crowd of 100 outside the Old Bailey. The Lawrence family are due to speak soon.
Brian Paddick, formerly of the Metropolitan police and now Lib Dem candidate for mayor of London, has just been speaking to the BBC about stop and search.
The Met has improved the way it carries out stop and search since Stephen Lawrence was killed in 1993, he says, but it is still carried out disproportionately against black people.
The Press Association has more quotes from Mr Justice Treacy, passing sentence today:
A totally innocent 18-year-old youth on the threshold of a promising life was brutally cut down in the street in front of eye witnesses by a racist, thuggish gang.
You were both members of that gang. I have no doubt at all that you fully subscribed to its views and attitudes.
He said that undercover police footage of the pair using racist obscenities showed "disgusting and shocking scenes", and that the murder was committed "for no other reason than racial hatred".
Scotland Yard commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has said "the other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds", the Press Association reports.
Speaking before this morning's sentencing, he made an appeal to possible witnesses: "Anything you know, please tell us ... We can make a difference in this case still."
The Metropolitan police "are actively reviewing the consequences of what opportunities might be presented", Hogan-Howe said.
When asked about allegations that the Metropolitan police was still institutionally racist, Hogan-Howe said: "I hope we are not but it is a bit like asking someone if they are a nice person. Are we the best people to ask?"
He said the force was "hugely different from where we were" at the time of Lawrence's death.
Mr Justice Treacy said the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was a "terrible and evil crime" as he began sentencing Gary Dobson and David Norris today.
Sandra Laville reports that the judge ordered the Metropolitan police to continue with its investigation into the murder and praised Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, the senior investigating officer in the latest investigation.
Michael Mansfield QC, who represented Lawrence's parents at his inquest, is speaking on BBC News. He says that "it is a very important landmark that race has to be considered within the context of crime".
Mansfield points out that after Dobson and Norris have served their minimum sentences, they may not be immediately released – it may be felt that they are not eligible for parole at this point.
"I suspect they will serve more than the minimum."
Dobson's father shouted "shame on you all" after the sentencing, according to the BBC.
Gary Dobson and David Norris have been sentenced for the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Gary Dobson must serve a minimum of 15 years and two months before he is eligible for parole.
David Norris must serve a minimum of 14 years and three months before he is eligible for parole.
The defendants did not respond, going down quietly, Sandra Laville reports from the court.
David Norris has been sentenced to a minimum of 14 years and three months.
Gary Dobson has been given a minimum term of 15 years and two months.
His starting point is 12 years and he is going to adjust that up or down due to aggravating or mitigating factors, the judge says, according to the BBC. Gary Dobson is standing to hear his sentence now, according to the BBC.
Gary Dobson and David Norris, the two men convicted of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, are about to be sentenced.
The pair were 17 and 16 at the time of the murder. Their sentence will take into account as a starting point the fact that they were juveniles at the time of the fatal stabbing.
Mr Justice Treacy, the trial judge, will also take aggravating factors into account: specifically that the murder was racist, and also that the pair realised one of their group might use a knife.
According to the BBC, Treacy said Dobson repeatedly lied out of loyalty to the group he was with.
He said the encounter was chance, not premeditated, but Dobson and Norris were prepared to attack, the BBC reports.
He said Dobson and Norris were part of a racist, thuggish gang, the BBC reports.
There can be no mitigation for contrition, the judge said, according to the BBC.
You lied to the court, the judge told them, Sandra Laville reports.
Neither of you has shown any regret or remorse, he told them.
You are now both in your mid-30s but I have to look at you as you were at the time, Treacy said.
There is nothing I have seen that suggests either of you were immature or easily led, he told them.
I must sentence you by reference to your age and maturity at the time not as the mature men you are now.
An adult committing this crime now would face life with a starting point of 30 years after changes to the law 2003, Treacey says.