Race event pulls top US attorneys

THE DEFENCE lawyers who acted for OJ Simpson and Rodney King are to speak at a major London conference on black people in the criminal justice system.

Johnnie Cochran and Milton Grimes have accepted invitations to speak at next month's 'Race for Justice' conference.

Cochran, head defence attorney for Simpson, and Grimes, who acted for King during his civil action against police officers who assaulted him, are two of most high-profile black lawyers in the US.

The event has been organised by the Society of Black Lawyers with the new Black Police Association, the Association of Black Probation Officers and the National Black Caucus.

About 500 lawyers, magistrates, police and other professionals working in the criminal justice system will hear speeches on issues such as the disproportionate number of black people stopped and searched and convicted.

The Lord Chief Justice, who has endorsed the event, said: “Race issues go to the heart of our system of justice, which demands that all are treated as equal before the law.”

Peter Herbert, barrister and SBL chair, said: “What we are trying to do is work together within the criminal justice system to ensure equal treatment on grounds of race and nationality.

“We have worked with the nascent black policemen's association to develop its constitution for the last three years.”

The conference will be held at the Commonwealth Institute on 18 November.