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news round-up 22.12.17

(Posted on 19/12/17)


Miscarriages of Justice and Destroyed Evidence - Are Austerity Cuts Killing Forensic Science?

The closure of the Forensic Science Service and budget cuts have significantly  affected standards of forensic science and impacted on justice, according to a TV report with contributions from Inside Justice Advisory Panel members Tracy Alexander and Professor Denise Syndercombe-Court.

See link below.

Rape trial collapse prompts 'urgent review' 

Proceedings against Liam Allan were halted at Croydon Crown Court last week after it emerged that police had belatedly disclosed phone messages between the complainant and her friends that threw the case into doubt, the Guardian reported.

In the Times, prosecuting barrister and former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes described it as “the most appalling failure of disclosure”.

The judge called for a review of disclosure of evidence by the Metropolitan police, as well as an inquiry at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The Met later confirmed it had launched an urgent assessment of what had happened.

“I can’t explain the mental torture of the past two years," Criminology student Allan said after the case was dismissed. "I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing – the system I want to work in.”

A second rape trial has now been halted involving the same investigating officer as Mr Allan's case. The officer remains on full duty with the Met.

Government to address racial bias in justice system

Prosecutions in London could be dropped or deferred as ministers respond to David Lammy report on legal treatment of BAME people.

The Ministry of Justice has agreed to carry forward most of the Labour MP’s recommendations.

“BAME individuals still face bias – including overt discrimination – in parts of our justice system, which treats ethnic minorities more harshly than white Britons,” Lammy responded. “The time for talking is over and I therefore welcome the government’s clear commitment to addressing these issues and I am pleased that many of my recommendations will be acted upon."

“I am disappointed that the government have not felt able to move forward on targets or goals to achieve a representative judiciary and magistracy. My review demonstrated the lack of progress over the last decade in improving diversity amongst the judges that sit in our courts, and I am clear that more of the same will not work.”

“Effective justice simply cannot be delivered unless everyone has full confidence in our criminal justice system,” Justice Secretary David Lidington acknowledged.

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