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Family vow at 'travesty of justice'

The sister of the man who spent eight years behind bars after being wrongly convicted of the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando said that denying her brother compensation was a "travesty of justice".

Michelle Diskin spoke out after Barry George failed to win the go-ahead at the Court of Appeal to continue his legal battle for compensation.

Mr George and his sister were present at the London court for a hearing which ended in a judge rejecting his application for permission to appeal against the dismissal of his claim over compensation by two High Court judges in January.

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice with her brother by her side, Ms Diskin said they were "extremely disappointed". She said: "We cannot let this go unchallenged. Serving eight years in prison for someone else's crime is not acceptable. Everything was taken from this man when the police started what we believe to be a malicious prosecution. He lost his home, his furniture, his clothing and all of his possessions, his place within his community and his church family."

She went on: "How did this unjust legal system expect him to start his life over? He can never get back everything that was taken from him."

Ms Diskin said the family would prepare to "stand against this latest travesty of justice". She declared: "Barry is innocent. He deserves a financial settlement to compensate for all that was taken from him - everything he owned and eight years of his life."

At the High Court in January, Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Irwin rejected Mr George's claim that the Justice Secretary unfairly and unlawfully decided he was "not innocent enough to be compensated". They ruled that the Secretary of State was "entirely justified in the conclusion he reached".

Lord Justice Richards dismissed an application by Mr George for permission to challenge the January decision, ruling that Mr George, 53, had "no realistic prospects" of success on appeal.

Mr George went to the High Court seeking a reconsideration of his case which could have opened the way for him to claim an award of up to £500,000 for lost earnings and wrongful imprisonment. It was argued on his behalf that the decision to refuse compensation was "defective and contrary to natural justice", but the High Court ruled that he had ''failed the legal test'' to receive an award.

Miss Dando was shot dead outside her home in Fulham, west London, in April 1999. After his conviction in July 2001, Mr George, of Fulham, was acquitted of killing the 37-year-old BBC presenter at a retrial in August 2008.


From Belfast Telegraph