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MPs urge review of laws which helped convict Stephen Lawrence's killers

An urgent review is needed into so-called 'joint enterprise' legislation to stop people being sentenced to life in prison for murder when they were not directly involved in the killing, a group of MPs has said.

The legislation, which was used to convict the killers of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, currently contains a rule that in a joint enterprise murder, it is not possible to charge "minor" players - who did not encourage or assist in the crime - with a lesser offence such as manslaughter.

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MPs urge review of laws used to convict Stephen's killers

An urgent review is needed into the so-called 'joint enterprise' legislation which was used to convict the men who murdered black teenager Stephen Laurence, a group of MPs has said.

The 'joint enterprise' rules were used to convict the killers of Stephen Lawrence Credit: ITV News

The legislation currently contains a rule that in a joint enterprise murder, it is not possible to charge "minor" players - who did not encourage or assist in the crime - with a lesser offence such as manslaughter.

The Justice Committee wants that rule scrapped to stop people being sentenced to life in prison for murder when they were not directly involved in the killing.

Joint enterprise laws can apply to any offence, but has recently been used to prosecute murders - in particular ones involving gangs.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted and jailed under 'joint enterprise' for Stephen Lawrence's murder Credit: PA

They have been invoked in a number of high-profile cases, including the 1993 stabbing of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence in south London.

David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted under the rules for his murder.

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