Po­lice fail to fully share ev­i­dence for 4 in 10 cases

Daily Mail - - Comment - Daily Mail Re­porter

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’.

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