AG’s Guidelines on Disclosure – too much discretion in the hands of investigators?
The updated guidelines were published following the publication of the Attorney General’s Review of the efficiency and effectiveness of disclosure in the criminal justice system in 2018 which highlighted significant concerns about the disclosure process. Its recommendations included encouraging earlier engagement between the prosecution and defence, harnessing the use of technology and effecting culture change. These guidelines attempt to address these and other systemic issues.
New Charging Guidance from the DPP – an attempt to encourage expedition
Updated guidance has been issued which sets out the arrangements prescribed by the DPP for charging decisions, the information required to be sent to the Prosecutor when a charging decision is sought from the CPS, the other material required to support a prosecution and the joint working framework for police and prosecutors during the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases.
Police Powers: Pre-Charge Bail – The government acknowledges the failings of the current system
The Home Office have published their response to the ‘Police Powers: Pre-charge Bail’ consultation paper. In their response the Government acknowledge the failings of the regime introduced by the Policing and Crime Act 2017 and the need for change.
Child arrests in England and Wales 2019 – should we be concerned by the increase?
The Howard League for Penal Reform recently published its annual briefing on child arrests in England and Wales, which analyses the data on child arrests in 2019. Analysis of the 2019 figures showed a slight rise, resulting overall in a 2% increase in child arrests nationally.
Justice Select Committee report on disclosure in criminal cases
The Justice Select Committee has released a report on disclosure of evidence in criminal cases. Disclosure of unused material in criminal cases is essential to a defendant receiving a fair trial. The urgency to revisit disclosure processes became apparent after a notorious failure in a number of cases between December 2017 and spring 2018. The report examines the failures in disclosure, the role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police, and provides a set of recommendations to ensure a more effective disclosure process.
Home Office publishes Concordat on Children in Custody
The Home Office has published a concordat on children in custody, preventing the detention of children in police stations following charge. The concordat aims to clarify the legal and statutory duties of the police and local authorities. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 requires the transfer of children who have been charged and denied bail to more appropriate Local Authority accommodation, with a related duty in the Children Act 1989 for Local Authorities to accept these transfers.
Lammy Review 2017 published
The Lammy Review is an independent report into the treatment of and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) in the criminal justice system. The Lammy Review highlights the current failings of the youth justice system and makes a number of important recommendations on how best to redress the disproportionate representation of BAME young people in the criminal justice system.
Strasbourg court rules that 16 year old had been subjected to “degrading” treatment at police station in breach of Article 3
The European Court of Human Rights found that a child was subjected to “degrading” treatment contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by being kept handcuffed and wearing just his underwear for at least two and a half hours and, subsequently, by being placed in a cell with adult detainees for three days.
New guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) highlights how to protect victims who may commit criminal offences
The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) for all practitioners working with children, including those working in a youth justice setting. It contains information on how to identify and support victims of CSE including in a criminal justice context.