New report 'Compound Injustice' shows rap and drill music used as prosecution evidence for serious charges

Wednesday 1 May 2024

A new report, 'Compound Injustice' by experts from The University of Manchester; Professor Eithne Quinn, Erica Cane and Will Pritchard, outlines how rap music is being used as evidence to convict children of serious crimes.

Our Keir Monteith KC assisted in advising aspects of this report project.

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Read the full report 'Compound Injustice: A review of cases involving rap music evidence in England and Wales'.

This report has been featured in the Guardian: "The report...said 84% of defendants were ethnic minority people with 66% of those Black, compared with 4% of the overall English and Welsh population, with a further 12% Black or mixed. Furthermore, 53% of cases were joint enterprise prosecutions, the controversial legal doctrine that enables prosecutors to charge multiple people with a single crime. At the time of trial, 15% of defendants in the cases were children – 17 years old and under – and 67% were young people, 18-24 years old."

Keir Monteith KC is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Manchester within the School of Social Sciences. Keir is frequently instructed in trials and appeals where rap evidence is prejudicially used. He is a founding member of Art Not Evidence campaign, launched at the end of 2023 to advocate for a restriction on the use of creative expression as evidence in criminal trials.

Keir also sits as a Recorder [part-time Crown Court judge], and is a training tutor for the Judicial College. In July 2021, Keir became a Simon Fellow at the University of Manchester to work on research founded on a deep understanding of racism as both structural and interpersonal and projects on installing fairer treatment in the justice system. 

In Autumn 2022, the report 'Racial Bias and the Bench' was published, co-authored by experts from The University of Manchester and Keir Monteith KC in response to the Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (2020-2025). It raised urgent questions about racial attitudes and practices in the legal system in England and Wales. Keir Monteith KC undertook this work as a Simon Fellow at The University of Manchester. Professor Eithne Quinn of The University of Manchester is the report's academic lead author.

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