• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What has the government done to change the regime of non-disclosure of evidence which has led to numerous miscarriages of justice?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What has the government done to change the regime of non-disclosure of evidence which has led to numerous miscarriages of justice? Disclosure is still one of the most frequent causes of miscarriages of justice and the procedure of disclosure in the United Kingdom is one of deep concern. It is widely known that the procedure for disclosure introduced by the Criminal Procedure and investigations Act 1996 (CPIA) hasn't really worked the way it should have; instead it considerably limits the defendants right to access information. Disclosure is now considered fundamental to the defendants' right to a fair trial. However little attention has been given by the police service, which weaken this vital safeguard. In the criminal justice system disclosure is the process by which the prosecution alerts the defence to the knowledge of any unused material (material does not form part of the prosecution case, hence the term 'unused') gathered during an investigation, but it can however weaken the prosecution or strengthen the defence. Therefore this can be priceless information for the defence as it can create the reasonable doubt required to win their battle in court. This therefore means that by law the defence has the right to access and to know of any material that can be used to strengthen their case. ...read more.

Middle

However, the final report was much more understanding to the police point of view in terms of disclosure, and the government response was Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA),8 which limited, the duty of disclosure on the prosecution. The Act also, for the first time, enforced a mutual duty on the defence. As a result, the defence was now under a statutory obligation to assist the prosecution by revealing the nature of their case in advance of the trial. The House of Lords stated in R v H and C9: "Fairness ordinarily requires that any material held by the prosecution which weakens its case or strengthens that of the defendant, if not relied on as part of its formal case against the defendant, should be disclosed to the defence. Bitter experience has shown that miscarriages of justice may occur where such material is withheld from disclosure. The golden rule is that full disclosure of such material should be made. " Therefore unused prosecution material will fail to be disclosed if, and only if, it satisfies the test for disclosure applicable to the proceedings in question. The relevant test for disclosure will depend on the date the criminal investigation inquiry started, as this will determine whether the common law disclosure regime applies, or either of the two disclosure regimes under the CPIA1996. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 1998 David Calvert Smith16 was appointed director of public prosecutions much of this documentation arose from a review of the procedures instigated by him. He also recognised the widespread concern over police and CPS performance in relation to disclosure and, made the decision to publish JOPI. In conclusion, major trials have collapsed at huge expense, defendants have had their cases dropped when a judge's patience with a failure to disclose evidence has finally come to an end, while those wrongly accused have, come very close to going on trial without knowing about crucial evidence that would secure their exoneration. The big worry, of course, are the cases where no one ever finds out about the exoneration statement sitting at the bottom of a police file; where the accused is convicted, locked up, but is innocent. The Government is now well aware of the problems; however, all the good intentions have led to lots of public announcements of aim but very little progress. It could all be sorted out in three easy stages, without legislation. First, the CPS needs to be told that it has to inspect the unused material itself, not just glance at the list produced by the police. Second, the CPS needs the extra funds to give it the time to do so. Third, the Government should, in the majority of cases, let defence lawyers go and look at whatever the police have got. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Criminology essays

  1. WHY DO MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE OCCUR? HOW CAN THEY BE PREVENTED?

    The criminal investigation conducted by police officers bears a lot of the blame to miscarriages of justice. This could be due to many factors, for instance, pressure from their superiors to close a case, or maybe a dishonest officer hoping for a promotion "there are still corrupt police around who will do anything to further their own ends.

  2. Literature Review - Male Rape.

    She explains homosexual and bi-sexual men were also more likely to define their experiences as rape if it corresponded to the 'real rape' scenario - in other words, if the assault consisted of an attack by a stranger, carrying a weapon or using physical violence to force the man to have anal intercourse against his will' (Allen 2002)

  1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of youth justice policies in England and Wales since ...

    They could also stop certain behaviours like truanting; this could also be combined with a parenting order. And if these are not obeyed then the local authority can start proceedings. The strength of this is a the combination of the two orders as it can be most effective this way

  2. What are the aims of the Youth Justice System in England and Wales. How ...

    The YJB sets minimum standards and improvement has occurred to all the National Standard measures for 2005/06 when compared to the scores for 2004/05. The '1998 act' introduced Yots to combine relevant local agencies expertise in order to reduce crime.

  1. Does the Police and Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and its codes of practice successfully ...

    Taking fingerprints form a person without their consent is allowed when the police officer have a reasonable grounds that suspect fingerprints will verify or refute his involvement in criminal offence. Also from a person who has been charged with an offence, but did not provide so far his fingerprints to the police.

  2. Crime Scene Photography - Footwear Marks

    camera is parallel to the footwear mark, and therefore the rack is ready to supply this notwithstanding the footwear mark is on Associate in Nursing angle which might be shown on the angle setter. Once using a rack it allows the camera timer to be used additionally to minimise movement

  1. Social Ethics and the Justice System. Should abortion be legalised?

    In addition to post- traumatic stress disorder, many victims have been known to suffer from depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, marital discord, and suicide (Holmes et al. 1996, 321). As Walker (1999, 72) suggests, ?Pregnancy due to rape acts against the women?s liberty and in some sense, it?s a perpetuation of the aggression of the rapist.

  2. Perceptions of wrongful convictions amongst Americans working in the criminal justice system.

    These grandchildren (and my ?surrogate? granddaughter Katie) have inspired me and provided me with many moments of happiness when I needed a break from the daily problems of the world. I would also like to thank my sister-in-law/daughter Vicky for her support and encouragement.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work