At Aylesbury Crown Court on Wednesday 22nd February 2018, the prosecution of five men for money laundering and evasion of duty offences collapsed three weeks into the trial due to the prosecution's failure to comply with its disclosure obligations. All five defendants were acquitted.
The HMRC case involved allegations relating to the smuggling of millions of cigarettes.
As a result of a number of disclosure requests by the defence during the trial, it became clear that there were major failings in the disclosure process by HMRC. Suspicions were aroused that the failings were of an endemic and serious nature.
The Judge was asked to stop the trial to obtain assurances from the prosecution that their disclosure obligations had been fulfilled. The prosecution were unable to give such assurances. They informed the court that they needed 10 weeks to start the disclosure review from scratch. As such they applied to discharge the jury and adjourn the case for a trial at a later date.
This was strongly resisted by David for the first defendant and he persuaded the Judge that such an adjournment was completely against the interests of justice, As such the prosecution were forced to offer no evidence and all five defendants were formally found not guilty.