Chhokar Family Justice Campaign

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2002 National Delegate Conference
22 February 2002
Carried as Amended

This Conference is concerned that, since Surjit Singh Chhokar was murdered in November 1998, no-one has been convicted of his murder, despite two trials at which it was demonstrated beyond all doubt that three men were either present, or attacked Surjit Singh Chhokar when he was battered and then stabbed to death. Conference believes that this case highlights the institutional racism within the legal system in the United Kingdom, including Scotland, and is a painful reminder of the way in which black and ethnic minority victims of racist violence are denied justice.

Conference notes the announcement in October 2000 by Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace and the Lord Advocate of two separate private inquiries as an acknowledgement that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred and that the criminal justice system failed the Chhokar family. However, Conference believes that the closed and in-house nature of investigations could leave many of the central questions about the Chhokar case unanswered and instead left the Chhokar family and their representatives on trial, one of the inquiries in fact attempted to turn back the clock on the gains of the Lawrence Inquiry.

Conference believes that only a full and genuinely independent public inquiry can begin to answer these and other questions and investigate the treatment of the victims and families of victims, of racist violence by the criminal justice system in Scotland.

Conference therefore urges branches, regions and the National Executive Council to give financial support to the campaign and, urges the National Executive Council to support the Chhokar family in their fight for justice and to campaign for the Scottish Executive to:

1)Conduct a full and independent public inquiry into all aspects of the Chhokar case;

2)Support the STUC appeal to conduct a public tribunal into the Chhokar case should a public inquiry not be held and to support financially the appeal fund;

3)Establish an independent police complaints authority in Scotland with adequate representation from a range of minority groups;

4)Increase the representation from black communities on the steering group charged with implementing the Stephen Lawrence Action Plan in Scotland;

5)Investigate ways of adjusting prosecution requirements in racially motivated attacks, so that more have a chance of success, as has happened in other areas such as domestic violence and rape cases.