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Criminal Trials Collapsing Due to Loss of Evidence

(Posted on 16/10/23)

Criminal Trials Collapsing Due to Loss of Evidence

More than 20,000 trials collapsed as a result of evidence going missing in less than three years including more than 40 murder cases, according to data contained in a new study. 

In a new article for the International Journal of Police Science & Management, Professor Carole McCartney, an academic at Leicester University and a member of the Westminster Commission on Forensic Science, along with Inside Justice Founder and investigative journalist Louise Shorter argue that losing investigative material is a hidden problem in the justice system and that its safe retention is ‘critical’ both to the system of criminal appeals and the re-investigation of ‘cold cases’.

The new article features data from the Crown Prosecution Service on the impact of lost materials on prosecutions. It reports that between October 2018 and August 2021, some 20,838 cases collapsed pre-trial due to missing and lost evidence, including 42 homicides and 364 sex offences.

Read more on The Justice Gap. 

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