CALL 0800 437 0322 9am to 6pm – Mon to Fri
Submit enquiry

Nigel Richardson among signatories calling on DPP to clarify promised review of rape and sexual assault trials

Posted on: 6th February 2018

Criminal defence partner Nigel Richardson at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen was one of the signatories in a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution published in The Times today requesting clarification of the urgent review of sexual assault and rape trials announced recently.

The signatories, all leading criminal defence practitioners, also added their support to public concern over collapsed trials and disclosure failings reported by the press.

They said that the system of disclosure, particularly involving electronic media, has long been unfit for purpose. Despite the issue being highlighted in the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate Report, July 2017: Making it fair, the disclosure of Unused Material in Volume Crown Court cases, in their opinion, there had been no improvement in the methods of the CPS or the police.

The signatories welcomed the announcement that all live rape and serious sexual assault cases were now under urgent review in England and Wales but called for clarification on the following:

  1. What are the criteria by which a case is determined to be a ‘serious’ sexual assault?
  2. Why has the review been confined to cases of rape and serious sexual assault? If it is right that this issue disproportionately affects sexual offence allegations, why confine the review? Sexual assault which may fall within your criteria of ‘serious’ and all other offences of a sexual nature carry an extreme life-changing stigma and consequences.
  3. What form is the review taking? In particular, can we reassure our clients that it will involve a fresh review of any (and all) electronic media in possession of the police?
  4. We note that the announcement refers to all live cases. In light of the prevalence and seriousness of the disclosure issues recently highlighted in the press, can you confirm that other cases will also be reviewed? It is obvious that these issues cannot be confined to the recent past. We refer in particular to the defendant in R v DSK (2017) EWCA Crim 2214 as illustration of a case which had the hallmarks of those currently in the public eye. DSK’s conviction of September 2013 was quashed by the Court of Appeal in December last year when he applied for fresh evidence (Facebook messages) to be considered. He had alerted the police to existence of these messages prior to his trial.

They welcomed the proposal to establish a police and prosecution led national disclosure forum but asked for the chance to discuss the proposals with the CPS as soon as possible to understand the DPP’s approach.

Nigel stressed the importance of adding HJA’s weight to a debate about disclosure while there was some impetus to change what has become a very faulty system, responsible for creating significant injustice in the past.

Ends

For further information, please contact Nicola Pearson at Black Letter Communications on 020 3567 1208 or at Nicola.pearson@blacklettercommunications.co.uk

Notes for Editors

Hodge Jones and Allen

  • Hodge Jones and Allen is one of the UK’s most progressive law firms, renowned for doing things differently and fighting injustice. Its senior partner is Patrick Allen, recently awarded a lifetime achievement award by Solicitors Journal and managing partner, Vidisha Joshi (recent winner of an Asian Woman of Achievement Award).
  • For 40 years’ the firm has been at the centre of many of the UK’s landmark legal cases that have changed the lives and rights of many people.
  • The firm’s team of specialists have been operating across: Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease, Civil Liberties, Criminal Defence, Court of Protection, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family Law, Military Claims, Serious Fraud, Social Housing, Wills & Probate and Property Disputes.
  • In 2016, the firm launched Hearing their voices – a campaign to raise awareness and build conversations around the issues and the injustices we might all face.

Request a FREE consultation

Fill out this form and one of the team will get back to you:


Call us on:

Our offices are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

Phone:0800 437 0322
Fax:020 7388 2106
Address:Hodge Jones & Allen LLP
180 North Gower Street
London
NW1 2NB