Friday, October 21, 2005

What Rubbish!

I was looking around the Attorney General's web site earlier today when I saw a press release on the subject of disclosure. I downloaded the press release as the only way to view the press release was to download the document as a MS Word file. I then read part of it that referred to a case that I had recently dealt with:

"Harmondsworth detention centre riots, Croydon Crown Court, 2005. A judge ordered disclosure of everything the defence wanted, in complete disregard, say the prosecution, of the CPIA. He also ordered wholesale disclosure of 500 hours of video surveillance, commenting in response to prosecution objections ‘The defence will soon get bored at looking at it all’. It took several days for the prosecution to amass the material for inspection, and several days longer for the defence to go through it all, but before they finished they decided that they had had enough. There was nothing that could help their case, and they felt no need to examine them further. Nothing the judge had ordered to be disclosed met the disclosure test. The defence conceded at some point that their search through the unused material was pointless, and they stopped."

This was a multi-handed case which originally involved 16 defendants, eventually when it went to trial there were only seven or eight defendants left by the time the jury retired to consider their verdict as the others slowly pleaded guilty or their case was discontinued. The statement from the Attorney General's office is completely wrong. The Prosecution voluntarily disclosed 3,500 hours worth of CCTV, and not 500 hours. This disclosure came before the prosecution had even considered the CPIA! The prosecution did not object to the disclosure of this CCTV material as they knew that it was material that may undermine their case so they were obliged to serve the CCTV. There was no order to disclose the CCTV. The prosecution had amassed the material during the course of the Police investigation and only had to make arrangements to copy the material instead of spending several days to amass the material for inspection. It took months (for the defence) to go through the material, not days. The relevant CCTV material that was on the CCTV was also served in a highlights DVD as a prosecution exhibit - this was then played back by my Client's defence team to the jury (after a very few edits) to show that the CCTV proved he did not damage property, assault any prison officers, or get involved in a riot.

The content of this particular point in the press release is so far removed from the truth it iunbelievablele.


Anonymous said...

Have you informed the government that they are talking out of their own arses?

I can't say that I am surprised by this. I find it harder and harder to trust anything that the government says.

I can't help thinking that much of what goes on in government is summed up nicely by the line in Yes Minister! where Jim Hacker states that Ministers are appointed expressly because they know nothing!

Gavin said...

I have told them. I have then put my complaint in writing and I am now waiting for their response.

Spike said...

I can't say that I am surprised by this. I find it harder and harder to trust anything that the government says.


Milton john said...

The press release is not a court document and may well be defamatory of the professional reputation of the prosectution team who made volutary disclosure!

Anonymous said...

It seems the offending document has now been removed from the site.

Gavin said...

I noticed this yesterday.

I also received a letter that was sent on behalf of the Attorney General telling me that my complaint was being looked in to and that I should receive some kind of reply within the next three weeks.

I can only assume that removing the press release from their web site means that they are taking my complaint seriously.