Police fail to fully share evidence for 4 in 10 cases
POLICE and prosecutors failed to fully comply with their obligations on sharing evidence with defence lawyers in 43 per cent of cases, according to a report by inspectors.
Before trials, the authorities are required to hand over relevant material irrespective of whether it undermines the prosecution case or assists in the defence. But the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate identified failures in a sample of 1,290 criminal cases over two years in England.
The report said police fully complied with their disclosure obligations in relation to unused material gathered in investigations in only 57 per cent of cases, with partial compliance in a further 37 per cent.
Prosecutors’ compliance on initial disclosure was ‘not much better than that of the police’, with only 58 per cent of cases fully meeting requirements.
Alison Saunders, the outgoing head of the Crown Prosecution Service, apologised last month after it was revealed that 47 rape and sex attack cases were dropped because evidence was withheld from defence lawyers.
She said disclosure errors were a ‘long-standing systemic issue’.