Today (24th January 2018), the BBC carried a front-page story under the headline, “Hundreds of cases dropped over evidence disclosure failings”.
In response, the Centre for Criminal Appeals said:
“The recent BBC findings of a systematic failure of the police and the CPS to appropriately handle disclosures of evidence resonate with our experience investigating miscarriages of justice in England and Wales. The BBC findings underscore what we have been saying for the past two years – poor disclosure protocols lead to miscarriages of justice and innocent people being sent to prison. We have seen time and again in the cases of the clients we represent, how a mishandling and incompetent analysis of evidence has led to wrongful convictions. And these mistakes only become more difficult to rectify post-conviction.
It is for precisely this reason we launched the Open Justice Charter in partnership with other lawyers, academics and journalists, calling for greater transparency and openness in our justice system. How can the public place trust in our justice system when these failings are exposed? We call on the new Justice Secretary David Gauke to urgently overhaul the system to ensure disclosures are properly handled by the police and the CPS, so that people accused of crimes can properly defend themselves with the evidence available.”