Court allows Dando compensation claim

BARRY George, who was acquitted of the murder of television presenter Jill Dando after spending eight years behind bars, won the first round of a legal battle yesterday over a decision that he is not entitled to compensation.

A High Court judge in London gave George, 50, the go-ahead to challenge the decision.

But George must now wait until next year to see what happens next.

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Mr Justice Collins, when granting permission for a judicial review, placed a "stay" on further action in the proceedings until after a decision is announced by the Supreme Court relating to a number of similar cases.

It emerged earlier this year that George, who was found not guilty of the Crimewatch presenter's murder after an Old Bailey retrial in 2008, was refused a reported claim of 1.4m.

Miss Dando, 37, was shot once in the head outside her home in south west London in April 1999.

Neighbours said a man in a dark blue coat was hanging around before and after her killing.

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George was convicted of her murder at the Old Bailey in 2001 but the conviction was quashed on appeal in November 2007.

For permission to be granted yesterday, it only had to be shown that George has an "arguable case" to challenge the decision over compensation by the Justice Secretary.

The usual next step is for the case to be dealt with by the High Court, with each side giving full argument before the ruling on whether a disputed decision can stand or should be quashed.