Following the collapse of a number of rape cases in recent times, including several of a ‘high profile nature’, as the result of the late disclosure of digital evidence which was discovered to seriously undermine the prosecution, police and prosecutors are seeking to remedy a perceived deficiency in the law which prevents complainants and witnesses from being forced to disclose relevant content from mobile phones or other devices containing digital material.

Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the recent proposals.

The Proposals | Kangs Trial Evidence Advisory Team

  • Consent forms are to be rolled out across all police forces in the country asking for consent to access mobile phones and social media accounts to enable emails etc. to be scrutinized and analysed.
  • Prosecutors maintain that these consent forms make it clear that investigators should not exceed ‘reasonable lines of enquiry’, are not a change in policy but intended ‘to achieve consistency nationally’.
  • Whilst the consent forms state that victims will be able to explain why they do not wish to provide such permission they are also advised that in the event of a refusal ‘it may not be possible for the investigation or prosecution to continue’,

The Assistant Commissioner for the National Police Chiefs Council stated:

“Police have a duty to pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry. Those now frequently extend into the devices of victims and witnesses as well as suspects – particularly in cases where suspects and victims know each other.”  

Varying Opinions | Kangs Solicitors Sexual Offences Defence Team

  • Labour’s Yvette Cooper is quoted as saying that there are ‘no safeguards at all’ and the checks and balances to prevent inquiries being inappropriate ‘were already not working’.
  • Sarah Green, from End Violence Against Women Coalition, said the implications of handing over a phone were ‘huge’ as many people relied on them for work and they would not be offered a replacement.
  • It is maintained by campaigners for victims’ rights and civil liberties that having to share personal information, including unrelated sexual history, could stop victims coming forward.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman commented that the issue was complex but police understood the need to balance a respect for privacy with the need to pursue ‘all reasonable lines of inquiry’.

How Can We Help? | Wrongly Accused of Rape or Serious Sexual Offences?

The team at Kangs Solicitors has a proven track record of successfully defending clients charged with allegations of serious sexual offences and provides robust and comprehensive advice and guidance from the offset at the police station through to trial.

For a sample of the recent sexual offences cases the team at Kangs has defended, please see below:

Who Can I Contact? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

Arrangements can be made to meet at any of our offices in BirminghamLondon and Manchester.

Please feel free to contact our team through any of the following who will be happy to speak to you and guide you:

Hamraj Kang
hkang@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

Helen Holder
hholder@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 07989 521210

Fran Murray
fmurray@kangssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210

Cagin Husnu
chusnu@kangssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210