Last Tuesday saw the end of the 2 week Disclosure Survey commissioned by the BBC in conjunction with the CLSA/LCCSA and CBA . You may have been wondering when the results were going to be published. Understandably, the BBC wanted the results embargoed until it had fully completed its research and production for tonight's File on 4 Radio 4, 8pm.
At 5pm today the embargo was lifted and I am now at liberty to release the survey results. There were over 1200 responses. Thank you to all who participated and to those who were interviewed for the programme or arranged for clients to be interviewed. Those who are engaged on a regular basis with criminal work will not be in the least bit surprised at the results they see below. They are what we expected them to be. I'm sure they will come as a shock to those who still maintain there isn't a problem and everything in the disclosure garden is rosy.
There has been considerable media interest in the research carried out by the BBC . Clive Coleman will be reporting on it on tonight's BBC news ( 6pm and 10pm ) and it will also feature on PM on Radio 4 .
We hope we can persuade the government and judiciary to take urgent steps to tackle these ongoing breaches of the existing rules and certainly hope that once the dust has settled, we can work together with the relevant parties to reform the system so that we do not experience these very frustrating day to day issues with disclosure and so that the public can have confidence that the system is treating all parties fairly and securing justice for those involved.
97 per cent encountered disclosure of evidence failings during the last 12 months
More than half (55%) encountered these problems every day or every week
The failures were evenly split as occurring with either the CPS and or with the police
45% were reported as being encountered in the Magistrates’ Courts, 45% were encountered at Crown Court
78% said the failures resulted in delayed the trial
85% said the failures had placed the defence under unreasonable logistical or time pressure
56% said the failures had caused a case to collapse
44% said the failures has resulted in a denial of justice
33% said the failures had resulted in 'possible wrongful conviction or miscarriage of justice
4% said the Transforming Summary Justice Initiative improved the workings of the Magistrates’ Court