Sunday 18 March 2018

Prosecution insists Adnan Syed was correctly convicted of murder

A judge must now consider whether to grant a new trial
A judge must now consider whether to grant a new trial

The prosecution has finished its closing arguments in the case of Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was re-examined by the popular Serial podcast.

Now a judge in Baltimore, US must decide whether to grant him a new trial.

Defence lawyer Justin Brown has a few more words to say to Judge Martin Welch, and then both sides plan press conferences about the case, which turned millions of listeners into armchair detectives.

Prosecutors argue that Syed was not convicted because of ineffective counsel or faulty evidence, but because "the evidence was overwhelming, and because he did it".

Deputy attorney general Thiru Vignarajah launched into his closing arguments after four days of evidence.

Syed, now 35, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of murder in the 1999 strangling death of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

His lawyers argued that he deserves a new trial because his trial lawyer did not contact an alibi witness who said she saw Syed in a public library during the time Lee was killed, and because prosecutors presented data to jurors without a cover sheet warning that information about incoming calls was unreliable.

Prosecutors said the data linked Syed to the site where Ms Lee's body was buried on the night she was killed.

Mr Vignarajah acknowledged the intense media attention generated by the podcast, which attracted millions of listeners who became fascinated with the murder case.

He said: "This is not a popular position, but the state's role is to do justice."

Press Association

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