Glasgow & West Scotland

Chhokar murder: Judges to decide on bid for new trial

Surjit Singh Chhokar Image copyright PA
Image caption No-one has been convicted of Mr Chhokar's murder in 1998

Judges are being asked to decide if three men should face a fresh trial over the murder of an Asian man in North Lanarkshire in 1998.

David Montgomery, 37, Ronnie Coulter, 46, and Andrew Coulter, 33, were all cleared of murdering Surjit Singh Chhokar, 32, in Overtown.

Prosecutors want to use changes in the law of double jeopardy which opens the way for a possible retrial.

The case at the High Court in Edinburgh will be heard over the next five days.

Father-of-two Mr Chhokar was stabbed in the heart outside the house he shared with his girlfriend Liz Bryce.

Two trials

Car mechanic Ronnie Coulter, his nephew Andrew and their friend Mr Montgomery were charged with the murder.

In 1999, Ronnie Coulter was tried alone and acquitted after he blamed Mr Montgomery and his nephew.

A separate trial in 2000 saw Andrew Coulter and Mr Montgomery also aquitted after they said Mr Chhokar had been killed by Ronnie Coulter.

In bringing their case for a retrial to the High Court, prosecutors must show that there is either new evidence unavailable to the previous trials, an accused person has since admitted the offence or someone tried to influence the jury.

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