Comment: Man wrongly jailed for six months after evidence withheld; Judge hits out at CPS over disclosure review
The Liverpool Echo reported yesterday on the case of a man who spent nearly six months jailed for an acid attack of which he was not guilty because of non-disclosure of evidence.
Crown Court Judge Steven Everett slammed prosecutors for holding back “devastating” medical evidence which he said showed the complainant was making up the allegation.
Wrongly jailed Anthony Brack, 51, faced up to 16 years’ imprisonment if convicted. Judge Everett reportedly said: “What a terrible miscarriage of justice that would have been.”
Judge Everett went on to criticise a disclosure review conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service earlier this year, which only looked at rape and serious sexual offences cases. “[T]he CPS and police will have to look at other case notes where there are assaults – not just sexual assault,” he said.
Suzanne Gower, Managing Director at legal action charity the Centre for Criminal Appeals, which works on miscarriages of justice cases, commented:
“This case is a stark reminder that failures by police and prosecutors to turnover vital evidence are not limited to rape cases. His Honour Judge Everett is absolutely right to say that the CPS and police should be checking for disclosure failings in other types of cases as well.
“Most importantly, the public miscarriage of justice watchdog, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, should extend its recently announced review of 306 rape convictions so that innocent people who have been wrongly convicted of other crimes because of disclosure failings can get justice.”