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World reacts to Lawrence verdict

REACTION: Trial of Norris and Dobson attracted international media attention

WHEN THE news of the Gary Dobson and David Norris guilty verdicts in the Stephen Lawrence trial broke, there was huge interest around the world.

Millions of people in America, Canada, Africa and Asia took a keen interest in the sentencing of the pair, and a New York Times report discussed the impact the case had on Britain.

The article said that the case had exposed a lack of justice and racism in Britain, and compared it to the infamous 1894 Dreyfus case in France.

It said ‘for Britain, the convictions were a defining moment... the Lawrence case had become as famous an emblem of justice denied or perverted as the Dreyfus case in France in the 1890s. It stood out because it occurred in a country where a vast majority of the 500 to 700 murders each year are successfully prosecuted.’

A number of US newspapers incorporated the quote of judge Mr Justice Treacy, calling the crime ‘terrible and evil’ in their headlines.

The Christian Science Monitor carried an in-depth two-page feature on the case, describing it as a turning point in British race relations.

The Washington Post said that the case ‘exposed racism in Scotland Yard’, and that it ‘prompted widespread soul-searching about race relations in Britain.’

The Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer were among the leading Caribbean papers to cover the story.

The verdict was also widely covered in many African publications, which also described it as a turning point.

However, a leader piece in the Nigerian publication Punch, said that too many race crimes in Britain had gone unsolved and that for the Lawrence family justice ‘was almost lost’.

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