Attorney General’s review of disclosure ignores plight of wrongly imprisoned

The Attorney General’s review of disclosure, published today, fails to address the plight of innocent people who have been wrongly imprisoned.

Geoffrey Cox QC MP’s review found that police are “not always” following reasonable lines of enquiry, meaning leads that could point to a defendant’s innocence are not being pursued. 

The report also admitted that police and prosecutors are “not always applying the disclosure test correctly, which means that material should be disclosed is not disclosed”.

However, the review failed to address problems with the current law on disclosure after conviction, which makes it almost impossible for those seeking to overturn their convictions to discover and access evidence wrongly withheld from them at trial. 

The review also dismissed calls by miscarriages of justice campaigners for a new Independent Disclosure Agency to take over the police’s role in deciding what evidence the defence gets to see.

Emily Bolton, Legal Director of the Centre for Criminal Appeals, said:

“While this review accepts that there are serious problems that need fixing, it ignores the plight of those who are already wrongly imprisoned because of police and prosecutors failing to disclose key evidence.

“The Attorney General failed to address issues with the law that currently governs access to evidence after conviction, which mean it is almost impossible for the innocent to access justice.

“We’ve launched a campaign called Show Us The Evidence to fix this broken law. British justice must do better.

“Everyone knows about problems in US criminal justice from shows like Making a Murderer – those problems exist in this country as well but they are hidden by the current law on access to the evidence for appeals.”

Support our #ShowUsTheEvidence campaign: