The Daily Telegraph

Overturned murder case exposes US justice system

- By Rozina Sabur in Washington

ADNAN SYED’S murder conviction unveiled “chronic” problems in America’s justice system, the host of the podcast Serial said, as victim Hae Min Lee’s family said they were “denied” a voice in the proceeding­s.

Doubts over Mr Syed’s conviction for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Lee, 18, gained internatio­nal attention after the case featured on the true-crime podcast in 2014. Lee was strangled and buried in a Baltimore park in 1999.

Mr Syed’s conviction was thrown out by a judge in Baltimore on Monday. The 41-year-old, who has always maintained his innocence, was freed after 23 years and put on home detention.

Prosecutor­s have 30 days to decide whether to seek a new trial against him.

Steve Kelly, a lawyer for Hae Min Lee’s family, said: “The Lee family is deeply disappoint­ed that [Monday’s] hearing happened so quickly and that they were denied the reasonable notice that would have permitted them to have a meaningful voice in the proceeding­s.”

Yesterday, Sarah Koenig, the journalist behind Serial, released an episode in which she said much of the evidence cited in the motion to overturn the conviction had been available since 1999.

Young Lee, the victim’s brother, appeared virtually in court to argue that the motion to overturn Mr Syed’s conviction felt unfair to his family, according to local network WBAL-TV.

He said: “This is not a podcast for me. It’s real life that will never end. It’s been 20-plus years. It’s a nightmare ... this is killing us.”

Prosecutor­s said they would wait for the results of “DNA analysis” before deciding whether to seek a new trial. They told the court their investigat­ions had found “undisclose­d and newly developed informatio­n regarding two alternativ­e suspects”.

The suspects were known about originally and were not ruled out but they were not disclosed to the defence.

“The prosecutor­s today are not saying Adnan is innocent. They stopped short of exoneratin­g,” the Baltimore prosecutor’s office said. “Instead they’re saying that, back in 1999, we didn’t investigat­e this case thoroughly enough. We relied on evidence we shouldn’t have and we broke the rules ... this wasn’t an honest conviction.”

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