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Failing to disclose evidence.

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Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:53 am

Several prosecutions have recently collapsed at the last minute after it emerged that information in the possession of the police, but not disclosed to the defence, cast strong doubt on the complainant’s story...
The DPP... is confident that no innocent person has been jailed as the result of such an error...

Only if the probability of wrongly convicting someone was virtually zero, and there was almost no randomness in results, can it be true that in a vast sample of convictions no one was wrongly imprisoned because of poor disclosure.



https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pros ... 040d85a013
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:04 am

That is an interesting article. I do rate Daniel Finkelstein's thoughtful approach.

A related point of view, by experienced criminal law barrister Mary Aspinall-Miles on the Secret Barrister's blog.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby dls » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:56 am

I am really not sure why there is a link between the secret barrister's blog post and this issue.

A police officer who wades through a complainant social and other media posts to weed out those he does not want to be disclosed spends rather more time than one who simply hands it all over.

This is not really about costs. It seems largely to be about police officers failing to understand that they should not be performing the tasks which the judge has to perform.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:11 pm

Barrister Blogger on the subject. A long read, but a good one.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:38 pm

And how about this, from the National Police Chiefs Council?
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby shootist » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:58 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
Several prosecutions have recently collapsed at the last minute after it emerged that information in the possession of the police, but not disclosed to the defence, cast strong doubt on the complainant’s story...


A few more than 'several'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42795058?SThisFB

The number of prosecutions in England and Wales that collapsed because of a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence increased by 70% in the last two years, the BBC can reveal.
Last year, 916 people had charges dropped over a failure to disclose evidence - up from 537 in 2014-15.


This is nothing new. It was so common that the 1996 Criminal Investigations and Procedures Act was introduced in an effort to prevent this. Fat lot of bloody good it was. It seems to me to be a fact that CPS cannot review evidence that they have not been made aware of, neither can they inform the court if it should help the defence. Once again (actually, 916 times just this year, but who's counting?) the police seem intent on viewing the law as an obstacle to be overcome in the course of their endeavours.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:29 pm

shootist wrote:Once again (actually, 916 times just this year, but who's counting?).

This year?! We're not even through January yet.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:33 pm

It may even be the year before last (2015-16). But so what?
Last year, 916 people had charges dropped over a failure to disclose evidence - up from 537 in 2014-15.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby dls » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:30 pm

. It seems to me to be a fact that CPS cannot review evidence that they have not been made aware of, neither can they inform the court if it should help the defence. Once again (actually, 916 times just this year, but who's counting?) the police seem intent on viewing the law as an obstacle to be overcome in the course of their endeavours.


I think this is likely to be right. CPS can only put forwrd what evidence is made available to the. They get it in the neck becase they have responsibility, but it may be a responsibility empty of any capacity to actually achieve what they are charged with.

As always these are generalisations - many cases will differ.
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Re: Failing to disclose evidence.

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:32 pm

Sadly Sir Henry Brooke (former Court of Appeal judge) died yesterday.

Here is his instructive blog on the subject.
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