01482 778 463
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Review of all current rape and serious sexual assault cases will rightly put police forces under scrutiny given recent evidence issues

Review of all current rape and serious sexual assault cases will rightly put police forces under scrutiny given recent evidence issues

Woman with mobile phone


The decision to review every current serious sexual assault and rape case due to concerns over possible non-disclosure of vital evidence – which could prove those accused to be innocent – is entirely the right one to take.

In some ways, it could be seen to be a decision which undermines our legal system and brings into question the integrity and honesty of those at the very heart of it.

Essentially, police forces are under suspicion of potentially being selective over the evidence they share with defence teams, in order to progress cases.

Yet at the same time, this review should ultimately bring extra confidence in our justice system, as it means all forces in England and Wales will now come under extra scrutiny.

They will be forced to justify their decisions and explain why any significant evidence in cases has not been shared at the earliest possible stage.

Hopefully, any potential miscarriages of justice will be prevented as a result.

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, announced the review following the collapse of four rape trials in the space of two months, where it was found crucial evidence was disclosed to the defending team just days before the cases were due to be heard in court.

Those cases have quite rightly brought the integrity of our justice system into question, leading to a review which will now ask serious questions of every force.

‘Deep-rooted and systemic disclosure issues’ highlighted in UK police forces

In one of the most significant recent cases, 19-year-old Oxford student Oliver Mears was cleared of rape after spending two years on bail.

Surrey Police faced significant criticism from a judge for handing over crucial evidence to his defence team just days before his trial was scheduled.

Mr Mears will never get those two years of his life back – two years when he feared for his future, two years when his reputation was irreversibly damaged by the allegations made against him.

In speaking of ‘tackling the deep-rooted and systemic disclosure issues’ in police forces, Ms Saunders has done little to suggest the four recent cases are isolated.

She says they are now ‘taking steps to identify any individual cases of concern as a matter of urgency.’

As lawyers who represent people who have been wrongfully accused of crimes, and spent time in police custody unlawfully, our civil liberties team at Hudgell Solicitors will be watching the developments with regard to this situation closely.

Increasing number of prosecutions collapsing because of failure to disclose evidence

The announcement from Ms Saunders comes hot on the heels of a BBC report last week which revealed the number of prosecutions in England and Wales that collapsed because of a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence increased by 70% over the past two years.

The report revealed that last year, 916 people had charges dropped over a failure to disclose evidence – up from 537 in 2014-15. Such a situation is completely unacceptable.

Police and prosecutors have a duty to disclose all evidence that might either assist the defence case or undermine the case of the prosecution. Those are the very simple rules of our legal system and are in place to protect innocent people from being wrongfully prosecuted.

Any case in which those very basic rules are not followed should be questioned as to why, and any conviction which comes having not followed these protocols is simply unsafe and unlawful.

With all current rape and serious sexual assault cases now being reviewed to check all disclosure obligations have been met, the fairness of our legal system will be placed under full public scrutiny – as will the integrity of our police forces and prosecutors.

 

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Andrew Petherbridge

Team Supervisor and Chartered Legal Executive, Civil Liberties

ap@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request a callback from a solicitor

 I am an existing client.









Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very professional helpful and very…

"Very professional helpful and very friendly ."

Mr Luke Webb

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very happy with the fast service…

"Very happy with the fast service provided by Lauren at this firm. Always there to… "

Emma

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Made it very easy

"Made it very easy"

Mr Connor Robson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Really good service!

"Really good service!"

Mr Tharsan Uthayaseelan

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Good Experience

"Very good experience with this firm and my excellent lawyer, definitely a firm I will… "

Ms Asha Joyce

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Highly recommended,very helpful and…

"Highly recommended,very helpful and good customer service, they are a company that really care and… "

Mr Robert Edward Palmer

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Rebecca Cone looked after my claim and…

"Rebecca Cone looked after my claim and I would like to say that she was… "

Anthony Lyell

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors

"Hudgell Solicitors. Was very helpful in dealing with my case. With the road accident I… "

Mr Anthony Navier

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors dealt with our dental negligence claim

"Hudgell Solicitors dealt with our claim very professionally, keeping us up to date at every… "

Fiona lamb

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great service

"Great service"

Mr Ian James Bedingfield

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

was very good and deal with my case

"was very good and deal with my case"

Miss Diane Rastall

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Amazing service, would definitely recommend 😊

"Amazing service in all aspects of my case and very understanding of the situation. Made… "

Miss Laura Delaney

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service would use again

"Excellent service would use again"

Mrs Debbie Morrison

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent Service

"Sam Thompson provided an excellent professional service in my medical negligence claim. Hudgell's kept me… "

HS

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Good efficient service by Sara Kidd

"Good efficient service by Sara Kidd. Thank you."

Mrs M

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

1st class service

"Excellent service throughout the process. Always kept me informed of developments by phone or post.… "

Miss Claire Milburn

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgells solicitors a sure win

"I would certainly recommend hudgells solicitors to anyone wanting to file a claim for medical/dental… "

Joanne Pendlebury

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I would definitely recommend Hudgell …

"I would definitely recommend Hudgell Solicitors to family and friends. My family”s whole experience from… "

Allison Kienlen

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I have found the service to be Excellent

"I have found the service to be excellent, always return calls & emails promptly &… "

Mr Simon Hunt

Rated 9.3 out of 10 based on 412 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

VIEW DETAILS

© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90