Commons Justice Committee releases damning report on CPS disclosure failings in criminal cases

Friday 20 July 2018

Emma Fenn of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team was one of two special advisers to the Committee with Matthew Hardcastle of Kingsley Napley Solicitors.

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The House of Commons Justice Committee has released a damning report on CPS disclosure failings: Disclosure of Evidence in Criminal Cases.

The report found that long-term failures in the disclosure of evidence have gone unresolved, in part, because of the insufficient focus and leadership of the CPS.

The report concludes that this was not aided by data collected by the Crown Prosecution Service which may have underestimated the number of cases which were stopped with disclosure errors by around 90%.

Problems with disclosure came into sharp focus following the high-profile collapse of a number of cases between December 2017 and Spring 2018.

MPs found that failings have arisen in the application of disclosure by police officers and prosecutors on the ground.

The Committee states there should be a shift in culture towards viewing disclosure as a core justice duty, and not an administrative add-on. The Committee also concluded there needs to be the right skills and technology to review large volumes of material that are now routinely collected by the police and clear guidelines on handling sensitive material.

The report recommends that the Government must consider whether funding across the system is sufficient to ensure a good disclosure regime.

 

 

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