Family of victim in ‘Serial' case seek new court hearing

The new hearing would give Hae Min Lee's brother the right to challenge the evidence and present his own.

A lawyer has requested a new hearing on the motion that led to the release of Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction chronicled in the hit podcast Serial has already been overturned.

Steve Kelly, lawyer for the family of victim Hae Min Lee, filed the request in a legal brief in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state’s second-highest court.

The new hearing would require the prosecutor to present any evidence supporting the motion and give Young Lee, who is Hae Min Lee’s brother, the right to challenge the evidence and present his own.

The filing said Mr Lee “lacked notice and a meaningful opportunity to participate”, and was excluded from a legal proceeding “at which the state’s attorney and circuit court apparently decided the outcome”.

“Nothing Mr Lee might have said in opposition could have altered the result,” the court filing said. “His statement was, at best, an empty ritual.”

Mr Lee’s family has said it is not seeking to affect Mr Syed’s release from prison in its appeal.

“Mr Lee of course does not want to see a wrongly convicted man imprisoned, but it does no one justice for the court to make such pivotal decisions without the facts,” said Mr Kelly.

Prosecutors moved to vacate Mr Syed’s conviction in September, after a year-long investigation.

A Baltimore judge ordered a new trial and freed Mr Syed from prison, but gave prosecutors 30 days to decide whether to dismiss the charges or proceed with a new trial.

The judge ruled that the state had violated its legal obligation to share evidence that could have bolstered Mr Syed’s defence.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced at an October 11 news conference that her office had dismissed all charges against Mr Syed.

Prosecutors have previously said that a reinvestigation of the case revealed evidence regarding the possible involvement of two other suspects. The two suspects may have been involved individually or together, the state attorney’s office said.

Ms Mosby’s office also cited new results from DNA testing that was conducted using a more modern technique than when evidence in the case was first tested.

Mr Syed served more than 20 years in prison for the strangling of Ms Lee, who was 18 at the time. Her body was found weeks later, buried in a Baltimore park in 1999.

Mr Syed has always maintained his innocence. His case captured the attention of millions in 2014 when the debut season of Serial focused on Ms Lee’s killing and raised doubts about some of the evidence prosecutors had used.

The programme shattered podcast-streaming and downloading records.