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GTA murder lawsuit goes ahead

Trial could be later this year.

Alabama's Supreme Court has given the go-ahead to the lawsuit filed against Sony, Take-Two and US retailers by relatives of police officers murdered by a Grand Theft Auto fan.

A trial judge refused to dismiss the suit, and the defendants have been given no leave to appeal the decision. As a result, the trial could commence later this year or some time in early 2007.

However, the defendants do have the option to launch a challenge over whether the Alabama courts have the power to try the case - which could mean further delays.

The lawsuit was filed by the families of two police officers and a dispatcher who were murdered by 18 year old Devin Moore in June 2003. Moore pled not guilty by reason of mental defect, but was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death. The plaintiffs claim that Moore trained to become a killer by playing Grand Theft Auto.

Their case was initially presented by anti-videogames campaigner and lawyer Jack Thompson - but he withdrew from the case last November following accusations that he had violated legal ethics.