THE man convicted of killing Jill Dando is “too brain-damaged” to
undertake a lie test, writes Neil Michael.
Barry George‘s family have turned down two requests on his behalf in the
past three weeks to see how he would perform.
The 46-year-old has always claimed he did not shoot the BBC TV presenter
on the doorstep of her London home in April, 1999.
In July 2002, the House of Lords turned down his appeal against his
murder conviction and he is now waiting to hear from the Criminal Cases
Review Commission (CCRC) to see if he can lodge another appeal.
However his case, which is supported by the Miscarriages of Justice
Organisation MOJO, could take as much as another year before a decision
could be made.
With mounting interest in his 2001 conviction, it was felt that a lie
test could either put paid to his claim of innocence or help support his
moves to have his conviction quashed.
But his Irish sister – who recently launched an appeal for witnesses to
help her brother – said last night that although the family had
investigated the possibility of him doing one, they have been advised by
doctors against it.
Speaking from her Cork home, Michelle Diskin said: “We have thought
about it and taken medical advice but we have been told a lie test
wouldn’t work properly because of the condition he is in.
“He has suffered brain damage as a result of his years of having
epilepsy and it was main reason why he didn’t take the stand in his own
defence at his trail.
“It’s not so much that a lie test wouldn’t work, but it’s more that it
would have a better chance of not working properly because of his
condition and then Barry would just end up in a worse position than he
Polygraphy expert Bruce Burgess – who was to have carried out one of the
tests – said: “Based on what the family have said, it would be
“It’s not so much that it could have an overtly negative impact on a lie
test, but that the result is more likely to be inconclusive.
“The way it’s been explained to me is that he would probably not get
past the first question because he would spend too much time answering
it and I’m not convinced he would understand some of the more basic
He added: “However much I would like to help out a man who claims to be
innocent, I would never carry out a test on someone who couldn’t
understand everything that was being asked of him.”
A spokesman for MOJO said: “A lie test wouldn’t be appropriate at all.
“Barry would have to have questions asked a certain way, and that’s not
going to be ideal from the point of view of the lie test examiner.
“You also have to bear in mind, Barry George was found with something
like 10,000 reminder notes in his house to remind him to do basic things
like going to the shops.”
George’s Irish uncle, Limerick-based Michael Bourke, is also another
member of the Irish family to back his release.
Bourke, who visits George regularly at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridge, said:
“He has not said or done anything which would make me doubt his innocence.”
During his 2002 appeal, lawyers for George – who the investigating
officer described as a “seriously dysfunctional and disturbed”
individual – attempted to prove evidence in the original trial was in
They said police contaminated a coat he was wearing and in which a
particle of firearms residue was found that linked him to the scene.
They also disputed to the identification of George, saying it was flawed
The loner, who lived half-a-mile from Dando‘s Fulham home, was obsessed
with celebrities, the BBC and guns.
George, who was convicted of attempting to rape a language student when
he was 22, had previously been arrested dressed in combat gear outside
the London home of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and had spent time
at a local gun club.
When his flat was searched by police investigating tip-offs from members
of the public, copies of the BBC’s in-house newspaper Ariel which
featured the late Dando’s picture were found.
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