Cleared Jill Dando murder suspect Barry George in court fight for compensation
PUBLISHED May 18, 2012
The 52-year-old, who spent eight years behind bars before being found not guilty by an Old Bailey jury in 2008, will be one of five lead cases to be heard at the High Court this autumn, a judge ruled today.
They will test who is now entitled to payments in "miscarriage of justice" cases following a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in May last year.
The ruling meant that victims of such miscarriages would be able to claim compensation if the new evidence that cleared them would have meant they never could have been convicted in the first place.
It redefined what constitutes a "miscarriage of justice" and expanded it from the current rule that someone must be completely exonerated by a court.
The definition is important because only cleared convicts who are deemed to have suffered a miscarriage of justice are entitled to a pay-out.
The Ministry of Justice refused a £1.4 million compensation claim by Mr George - a convicted sex offender with a history of stalking women - in 2010.
He sought a pay-out for lost earnings, wrongful imprisonment, stress and destruction of character but the MoJ said he had no reputation to damage and police had found no evidence pointing to a new suspect in the notorious case.
Mr George was found guilty of Miss Dando's murder in 2001 - two years after the television presenter was shot on her doorstep in Fulham, west London.
The Court of Appeal quashed that verdict after ruling that a speck of gunpowder in Mr George's coat pocket, which had been crucial in securing his conviction, had no evidential value.
He was granted a retrial in August 2008, at which the judge ruled out the firearms residue evidence and the prosecution presented a circumstantial case against him.
The trial heard evidence from 14 women who said George had followed them or frightened them as they walked home.
A jury of eight women and four men unanimously cleared George.
After the verdict, which the Metropolitan Police called "disappointing", a review of the case failed to unearth a new suspect.