Your Right to Disclosure in Criminal Proceedings | Criminal Solicitors
On many occasions the team at Kangs Solicitors have been asked the questions:
“Can I stop these proceedings against me?”
where the Crown Prosecution Service haven’t disclosed to their Solicitor all of the evidence
“When will the CCTV footage of the incident referred to in my interview be disclosed to my Solicitor?”
Often, defendants feel that they are fighting their defences with one hand tied behind their backs having informed their defence teams that there is information in the hands of the police / Crown Prosecution Service that ought to be obtained to assist in their defence but which has not been obtained.
Some defence teams often either overlook the importance of pursuing this information or simply do nothing about it and rely upon the primary evidence that the Crown Prosecution Service has chosen to serve.
The Approach of Kangs Solicitors | Criminal Defence Solicitors
At Kangs Solicitors we ensure that the prosecution adhere to their obligations to serve upon the defence unused material which may reasonably be capable of undermining the prosecution case or assisting the defence.
We are aware that this must be done in a timely manner to assist the defendant in preparation for trial and also to assist the Court when setting down matters for trial.
Whilst in the Crown Court the service of a Defence Statement will trigger an obligation on the Crown to serve secondary disclosure, this is not the case in the Magistrates’ Court.
In the Magistrates’ Court the prosecution have an initial duty to disclose this material followed by their continuing duty to disclose further material which may assist the defence or undermine their case.
At the first hearing, the prosecution should provide the defence with the initial details of the prosecution case and this should be sufficient to allow the defence advocate to advise his client in relation to a plea of guilty or not guilty.
Following a not guilty plea, the prosecution are usually directed to disclose to the defence, within a non –statutory set period, any material which might reasonably be considered capable of:
1. Undermining the prosecution case;
2. Assisting the case for the accused.
On-Going Duty to Comply with Disclosure Requirements | Crime Solicitors
At Kangs Solicitors we ensure that this responsibility on the part of the prosecution is complied with.
If there is no such material the prosecution should, normally, confirm that to be the case in writing.
At Kangs Solicitors, we ensure that the prosecution continue with their duty to consider and disclose unused material as is necessary and often will serve a Defence Statement with the result that the Crown Prosecution Service must respond within 14 days.
Kangs Solicitors always seek to ensure that the prosecution have discharged their obligations by the date of trial and Prosecutors are reminded that they should not continue with the trial if s/he is satisfied that a fair trial cannot take place.
Indeed the Crown Prosecution Service Disclosure Manual states:
“if the prosecutor is satisfied that a fair trial cannot take place because of failure to disclose which cannot or will not be remedied, including by, for example, by making a form of admissions, amending the charges or presenting the case in a different way so as to ensure fairness or in other ways, he or she must not continue the case”.
If there is any failure to comply with the above we will, where necessary, raise with the court the extent to which a client is being prejudiced.
Specialist Advocacy Team | Criminal Defence Lawyers
Kangs Solicitors has a proven track record of success in making disclosure requests to the Crown, often leading to prosecutions not being proceeded with to trial and no evidence being offered in many of our cases.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this article then please feel free to contact our Sukhdip Randhawa who will be pleased to assist you and provide you with an initial free consultation.