Police failures in disclosure of evidence criticised in review
Tuckers’ Partner, Richard Atkinson, is one of those quoted in the national media today, commenting on a report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. The report found that it was rare for police officers to tell prosecutors about evidence that could undermine their case or assist the accused’s – known in legal terms as unused material.
Their recording of sensitive and non-sensitive evidence was “routinely poor”, it said, adding that prosecutors in turn were failing to challenge the poor recording of material and carry out their duty to consider what to hand over to the defence throughout a case.
Mr Atkinson told the Independent newspaper that it was “not at all uncommon in [his] experience or in colleagues’ experience for disclosure to not be properly addressed until the door of the court room”.
Lawyers welcomed the new report as a first attempt to fix the root cause of the problem, which can leave those snared in the criminal justice system at risk of miscarriages of justice through being wrongly convicted, but also which puts the public at risk by failing to convict those who have committed a serious criminal offence.