Monday 18 December 2017

Family 'appalled' as George loses Dando compensation bid

Michelle Diskin (right) reads a statement on behalf of her brother Barry George (left) after he lost his bid for compensation over the wrongful prosecution for the murder of Jill Dando
Michelle Diskin (right) reads a statement on behalf of her brother Barry George (left) after he lost his bid for compensation over the wrongful prosecution for the murder of Jill Dando
Jill Dando

Ralph Riegel and John Hall

THE Irish family of Barry George, the man wrongfully jailed for the murder of BBC star Jill Dando, admitted they are "appalled" he has been refused compensation by a British court.

Mr George (53) spent eight years in prison for the murder of the TV star before he was released after winning an appeal against his conviction.

Ms Dando (37) was shot in the head outside her west London home in April 1999 in what was described as an execution-style killing.

Mr George was convicted of the murder in 2001 despite concerns over whether a man who suffered from low-intelligence, learning disabilities and emotional issues was capable of such a professional-type killing.

Mr George has since spent the bulk of the past five years living close to his sister, Michelle Diskin, in Ballincollig, Co Cork. He splits his time between Cork and the UK where his sister has since relocated.

He sued for his wrongful conviction and detention, but in a stunning decision, the High Court in London refused him permission to appeal against a ruling last January, denying him any compensation.

Two High Court judges, Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Irwin, ruled that he was "not innocent enough to be compensated". The British government had earlier refused to make any compensation offer.

Yesterday, Lord Justice Richards refused him permission to appeal after saying he had "no realistic prospect" of success. Mr George had been seeking up to €700,000 in compensation for his conviction and eight years in prison.

His sister, who accompanied her brother to court, admitted to the Irish Independent she was "deeply shocked" by the ruling and said it amounted to yet another "travesty of justice".

She and Limerick-based uncle, Michael, waged a tireless campaign to get Mr George a retrial.

"There never was any viable evidence against Barry. This whole case from April 2000 until today has been a smoke and mirrors exercise designed to placate a worried public, and give the impression that justice had been done," she said.

"Neither the Dando family, nor our family, has seen any justice in the past 13 years

"We cannot let this go unchallenged. Serving eight years in prison for someone else's crime is not acceptable.

"He lost his home, his furniture, his clothing and all of his possessions, his place within his community, his church and his family. He can never get back everything that was taken from him," she added. Ms Diskin said it was abundantly clear that her brother was "absolutely innocent".

The family are also disappointed that Mr George's mother died before she could see her son finally vindicated with a fair settlement. Mr George is expected to spend several weeks with family in the UK before returning to Ireland.

Irish Independent

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