This morning, one of our preferred QCs, Dapinder Singh was guest expert on BBC TV Breakfast News discussing the systemic problems around disclosure of evidence, and how it is a major issue that needs to be urgently addressed.
It was said that in the lead up to criminal trials, police and prosecutors have a duty to disclose material that may either assist the defence or undermine the prosecution’s case, however there has been a systematic failure by prosecutors or investigating agencies to disclose such material. Figures show an increase in the failure to disclose by 70% in the last two years. This failure has led to 916 people having charges dropped, which is up from 537 in 2014 – 15. The issue has come to light after recent collapsed rape cases highlighted a failure to share evidence with defence solicitors, which heightened concerns that evidence is not being disclosed timeously, and rules are not being followed. Dapinder Singh QC said that defence teams must be able to trust the prosecution to discharge their disclosure duties properly.
The Crown Prosecution Service admitted the justice system had systemic problems that must be addressed, and although the number of dropped cases due to disclosure failures represented just 0.15% of the total number of prosecutions, it is still too many and must be dealt with as a priority and along with the police and other criminal justice partners.
Mr Singh is one of the QCs our team at Wilford Smith instructs for our clients in relation to fraud defence and complex cases.
Wilford Smith is a modern law firm based in London, Sheffield and Manchester. We provide quality advice on a range of complex legal matters to clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 168 5813.