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Supreme Court rules on post conviction duty of disclosure

View profile for Correna Platt
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The case of Nunn raised the question of the extent of any continuing duty of the police and the Crown prosecution service to assist him in gathering and examining evidence with a view to a further challenge to his conviction.

The ruling has wide implications on miscarriages of justice cases and the ability to obtain information post-conviction.  

The issue is of such importance to fighting miscarriages of justice that it was supported by the following organisations: Innocence Network UK, Justice, The Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association (CALA)

The position following the ruling in the Supreme Court is that although the duty of disclosure post-conviction is not as broad as pre-conviction, the court accepted that if the convicted person appeals, disclosure should be made of any material which is relevant to an identified ground of appeal and which might assist the appellant.

It did state that the law did not impose a duty upon police forces holding archived investigation material to respond to every request for further enquiry which may be made of them. Material requested must be relevant to the safety of the conviction. In essence the court accepted the appellant's argument that disclosure must ordinarily be made of material if there is a real prospect that further enquiry will uncover something which may affect the safety of the conviction.

Correna Platt, Partner and criminal appeals solicitor

 

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