source: The Guardian
published: 5 October 2016
A man has been convicted of the murder of Sikh waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar 17 years after he first stood trial for the killing.
The victim’s family sobbed and embraced in the public gallery as Ronnie Coulter was found guilty of fatally stabbing the 32-year-old in Overtown, North Lanarkshire, in November 1998, after a row over a £100 cheque.
In one of Scotland’s longest-running and most controversial murder cases, Coulter was retried following a change in the double jeopardy law in 2012.
The case was officially reopened four years ago after a lengthy campaign for justice by Chhokar’s family, supported by Scotland’s leading human rights lawyer, Aamer Anwar. On Wednesday Anwar described the verdict as “not a cause for celebration but relief that finally justice has been done”.
The failure of two prosecution cases in 1999 and 2000 led to a public outcry, and . Two official inquiries were launched, with one finding the prosecution and police guilty of institutional racism. The then lord advocate, Colin Boyd, admitted that Chhokar’s family had been failed by the system.
Legal saga sparked by change in ‘double jeopardy’ law
6 October 2016