George loses legal bid for damages

Barry George, who spent eight years in prison after being wrongly convicted of the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando, has lost his legal battle for compensation as a victim of a “miscarriage of justice”.

The legal move followed the dismissal of Mr George’s claim by two British high court judges in January.

Justice Beatson and Justice Irwin had rejected his claim that the UK justice secretary unfairly and unlawfully decided that he was “not innocent enough to be compensated”. They ruled that the secretary of state was “entirely justified in the conclusion he reached”.

Justice Richards, sitting at the court of appeal in London, yesterday rejected an application by Mr George, 53, for permission to challenge the decision. He announced Mr George had “no realistic prospects” of success on appeal.

Mr George went to the UK high court seeking a reconsideration of his case which could have opened the way for him to claim up to £500,000 (€580,580) for lost earnings and wrongful imprisonment. It was argued the decision to refuse compensation was “defective and contrary to natural justice”.

But the judges ruled he had “failed the legal test” to receive an award.

Ms Dando, 37, was shot dead outside her London home in Apr 1999. After his conviction in Jul 2001, Mr George, of Fulham, was acquitted at a retrial in Aug 2008. He had relocated to Cork after his release.

Ian Glen, representing Mr George, submitted yesterday that the prosecution case against him was “not viable and not a case where a reasonable jury could have convicted”.

“We seek an opportunity to make out our argument to the secretary of state that no reasonable jury, properly directed, could have convicted on the evidence that was available to them at the retrial,” he said.

In written submissions he said: “Many informed observers see the conviction of Barry George as a classic ‘miscarriage of justice’ when that phrase is used in common parlance.” He said Mr George’s case was a “matter of public concern”.


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