Seydou Diarrassouba was stabbed to death in London's Oxford Street on Boxing Day last year. Yesterday, a former gang member was cleared of his murder.
Although this was a big story in London, the biggest national story that day was the senseless shooting of Anuj Bidve by a self-styled psycho. Seydou Diarrassouba was described as a "loving son and brother". With the wisdom of hindsight this turns out to have been a case of a family grieving for a son and refusing to speak ill of the dead. An entirely different picture of him emerged when Jermaine Joseph was cleared at the Central Criminal Court of both his murder and manslaughter. He was said to have initiated the violence and to have pursued former gang member Joseph over a deep and powerful grievance.
Joseph's co-defendant Thulani Khumalo had already been cleared, on November 15.
Jermaine Joseph was defended by Michael Bromley-Martin QC, who also defended David Norris (unsuccessfully) in the delayed and contrived Stephen Lawrence case. Those with long memories will remember the hysteria and outrage that murder generated. This case - in spite of the outcome - suggests that young black men in particular have far more important issues to deal with than racism; it remains to be seen if these issues, including the gang culture, will generate anything like as much outrage as the death of Stephen Lawrence.