London: A former Scottish policeman turned
politician has sought reopening of investigation into the 1998
killing of an Indian-origin waiter, a case that had sparked
allegations of "institutional racism" after the acquittal of
Surjit Singh Chhokar was stabbed to death outside his
house in November 1998 allegedly by a white gang, but the
three men who stood trial for his murder were subsequently
Graeme Pearson, the head of crime at Strathclyde Police at
the time, is now a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament
(MSP). He said the Chhokar case was `unfinished business`.
The call for reopening the inquiry has also been prompted
by the recent conviction of two persons for the killing of
black teenager Stephen Lawrence, 18 years after his murder.
He said: "The Chhokar case was always unfinished business
and was a case that was left with an unsatisfactory outcome".
"In the Lawrence case, new evidence was deduced as a
result of DNA analysis so one would assume that there would
be a cold case review in the Chhokar inquiry and if the
criteria for prosecuting again are agreed and delivered, it
would be an ideal case for a retrial".
The Chhokar case sparked controversy after prosecutors
failed to secure a conviction, despite the arrests of three
men and two subsequent trials.
Two official inquiries ordered in the wake of the legal
episode made allegations of "institutional racism".
Humza Yousaf, MSP from the Scottish National Party, said
the case of teenager Stephen Lawrence had shown the impact new
evidence and new technology could have in delivering justice.