Police are ‘trained to hide vital evidence’

Police are ‘trained to hide vital evidence’

You may be aware of current reporting in the media in relation to the notion that the police and prosecution are routinely failing to disclose information and evidence to the defence, particularly in the most serious of cases. This is extremely alarming and is a huge concern to any person wrongly arrested, prosecuted or convicted of a criminal offence.

In a dossier obtained by the Centre for Criminal Appeals, a freedom of information request was made to the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Inspectorate of Constabulary, who prepared the joint report on disclosure and evidence. The results indicate that there is a routine and deliberate failure to disclose vital evidence by police and prosecutors, with a perception that the defence are not entitled to see all of the evidence. This, of course, is incorrect in law as the defence must be notified of evidence that could assist the defence case or undermine the prosecution case, this is part of the process that we have to ensure that a fair trial takes place and the scales of justice remain balanced.

The report was prepared initially as a result of a series of rape cases that collapsed following disclosures being made at the last minute, routinely on the day of trial, with clear evidence in support of the defence case (or undermining the crown’s case). Without this evidence or without a persistent and knowledgeable legal team, these cases were leading to miscarriages of justice. This is a present and current issue in criminal law and one that we are focussed on as criminal lawyers.

One Judge is quoted by the Inspectorate as stating “There seems to be an idea that the defence is not entitled to see things but where the defence press matters, this yields results”. Kevin McGinty, the chief inspector of the CPS, said that disclosure failings were the single most frequent cause in the steady stream of miscarriages of justice.

The article in The Times written today (3 April 2018), confirms the realities and fears of the breakdown of our current criminal justice system.

At Woollcombe Yonge Solicitors we have an experienced legal team of criminal lawyers. We know the law and we know what is required by law in your case. If you require legal advice or representation, please contact our criminal legal team on 01752 660384.