January 16, 2018 at 11:08 am #156
Recently three rape cases collapse after evidence is brought forward where the CPS stop pursuing the case.
Once again police fail to find or disclose evidence that demonstrate innocence of an accusation of rape. had this evidence not been found or disclosed in time a serious miscarriage of justice would have ruined an innocent person.
What is going on with the police collecting evidence at the moment?
Are they so under manned and overworked that they cut corners to get a conviction no matter what?
This is only a discussion about innocent people and the police/CPS not following due diligence to disclose evidence of innocence.
Something is very wrong.January 16, 2018 at 11:09 am #157
I’ll make a suggestion. A couple of decades ago, women complaining of rape were treated very skeptically by the police, with the result that many women were reluctant to go to them.
Campaigners succeeded in changing the culture, leading to a presumption that all accusations are true. “Always believe victims”, they say (where people making allegations are automatically regarded as “victims”).
The claim is made that the rate of false accusations is very low (2% is often claimed, though this figures has no real basis to it), and thus treating all allegations as true is justified.
So maybe the police really have now adopted that culture, where the person accused is nearly inevitably guilty in their eyes, and their job is to find the evidence to prove that, not to objectively assess the evidence.January 16, 2018 at 11:09 am #158
@katy You may be right that it’s attitudinal change that has lead to this, but prominent members of the legal profession (e.g. The Secret Barrister) are pointing to lack of resources in the police and CPS to properly investigate and prepare cases for court.
It has never been the police’s job to find evidence of guilt, and always to be objective (which in general I believe they are).January 16, 2018 at 11:10 am #159
@tom There was a formal shift (am sure you can google about it) as katy above suggests, that the base position should be that all rape victims are telling the truth. Rather than initially treating it as an accusation that needs to be proved.
Evidence should be then looked at to support/disprove this (that the rape victim is telling the truth.)
My impression is that the police are getting sloppy such that if they find a bit of evidence pointing one way or the other they stop looking for more. Particularly if it points towards the crime having occurred.
Of course ‘lack of resources’ is going to be publicly blamed rather that ‘poor police work/not doing the job properly’.January 16, 2018 at 11:11 am #160
You post this as though its the norm in rape prosecutions. Is it ? or is it in a small proportion of the 2% strawman katy used above (that is a small proportion of the small number of false accusations)? Genuine question, I don’t know.January 16, 2018 at 11:12 am #161
that the base position should be that all rape victims are telling the truth.
@phil Getting a bit pedantic here (but I do think it matters), all rape *victims* are indeed telling the truth (else they would not be “victims”).
What matters is whether rape *accusers* are telling the truth.January 16, 2018 at 11:13 am #162
Getting a bit pedantic here (but I do think it matters), all rape *victims* are indeed telling the truth (else they would not be “victims”).
What matters is whether rape *accusers* are telling the truth.
@katy Yes, of course, I should have used accusers.
My post wasn’t trying to belittle the issue of rape at all, simply point out the change in police stance and process as I understand it.January 16, 2018 at 11:13 am #163
This is totally a resources issue.January 16, 2018 at 11:14 am #164
This is totally a resources issue.
@cammy could one assume that this “resources issue” with the Police and the CPS is not confined to three high profile cases, where the accused were innocent, that highlighted this issue?January 16, 2018 at 11:15 am #165
This is totally a resources issue.
It can’t be entirely that. In each of these cases, the CPS felt that they had enough evidence for there to be a reasonable chance of a prosecution, meaning that they felt the accused would be more likely than not convicted based on what they would present. In one case was there actually was a conviction.
In other words, evidence that would probably be sufficient to secure a conviction existed in cases where it now seems almost certain that no crime occurred. That suggests to me that there is an issue besides under-resourcing.January 16, 2018 at 11:15 am #166
From the first case, it seems evidence of innocence wasn’t updated on the file. Looks like mistakes were made because people were too busy.January 16, 2018 at 11:16 am #167
From the first case, it seems evidence of innocence wasn’t updated on the file. Looks like mistakes were made because people were too busy.
@sam that isn’t really the issue; it is just as possible that the evidence never existed in the first place (presumably there are many cases where it doesn’t). Evidence, sufficient to secure a conviction, should not exist in a case where no crime occurred, and no defence against an accusation of rape should require the defence to offer evidence that the accused is innocent.
I would expect under-resourcing in the CPS to result in a reduction in the conviction rate; there is no way in which it should result in wrongful convictions without there being a wider problem.January 16, 2018 at 11:18 am #168
It has never been the police’s job to find evidence of guilt, and always to be objective
@tom their job is that, true.
But how many PC’s only log evidence that supports a possible conviction, and ignore anything that doesn’t?
It could well be that this sort of thing is going on across the board, and it’s only when the alleged perpetrator is facing many years in prison that their legal team starts checking and chasing up matters that “may have been overlooked”.
How many times has a PC’s word that “there was nothing there” been accepted unchallenged in court when a defendant has claimed something? Such as in this matter; say when driving, claiming a pedestrian walked straight out without looking, and was on the phone – PC says phone was examined and it wasn’t in use.January 16, 2018 at 11:19 am #169
This is totally a resources issue.
Cobblers – jobs should be done properly, particularly when someone’s liberty is at issue.January 16, 2018 at 11:57 am #184
Under resourcing of the CPS, providing them insufficient time or insufficiently experienced lawyers who are expected to churn through so many cases that they end up making bad decisions as to whether or not sufficient quality evidence is available for the case.
In my opinion what should happen is that the accused should remain anonymous until (and if) conviction. Maybe this is now the case these days?
January 16, 2018 at 11:59 am #186
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by elly.
I believe in many of the recent cases the non disclosure has related to electronic evidence (pictures of the couple cuddling in today’s case, deleted Facebook messages in another).
This implies a problem handling this sort of information and I suspect is budget related (either for technology or training).
The Secret Barrister has an interesting piece on non-disclosure: https://twitter.com/BarristerSecret/status/887191568158994432January 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm #234
What should happen is that the accused should remain anonymous until (and if) conviction. Maybe this is now the case these days?
It isn’t, but it is a different argument. It’s a difficult subject as there are pros and cons of anonymity.January 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm #235
It’s a failure to disclose evidence, of which the police were aware, which points away from the guilt of the suspect. That’s not to say the system isn’t under-resourced and creaking, but when you have that information and don’t disclose it, it points more to negligence to me.January 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm #236
In the case I read about there were messages from the accuser which pointed to the innocence of the accused which the police knew about but did not disclose. They have both a duty in law to investigate all reasonable lines of enquiry and to disclose information which may assist the defence.
Evidence doesnt only point to guilt; it can also point to innocence.January 16, 2018 at 1:12 pm #237
Cobblers – jobs should be done properly, particularly when someone’s liberty is at issue.
That’s easily said, but reported crime is going up and number of coppers are coming down. It’s obvious there is less time available for investigating each crime regardless of how diligent the police are. Remember its for the cps to judge if someone should be charged and if there is enough evidence (and they too are under resourced)January 24, 2018 at 10:09 am #391
Now this rabbit hole is getting deeper.
After freedom of Information, the BBC has discovered that 916 cases were dropped because of disclosure.
This begs the question, has anybody been wrongly convicted and sentenced because of disclosure issues?
And if there are, which based on probability, there will be I’m guessing any compensation claims will eclipse any alleged savings made ‘year on year’ with reduced resources to collect evidence for trials.
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