Sigh

He warned of the risks of “serious miscarriages of justice” after hearing that, to save costs, material was not always handed to defence lawyers.

It’s one of the first damn duties of the State, that Queen’s Justice thing. And they can’t even get that right.

When a new prosecution barrister took over the case the day before the start of the trial, he ordered police to hand over any telephone records. It was revealed that they had a computer disk containing copies of 40,000 messages.

They showed that she continued to pester Mr Allan for “casual sex”, told friends how much she enjoyed it with him and discussed her fantasies of being raped and having violent sex.

Jerry Hayes, the prosecuting barrister, told the court yesterday that he would offer no evidence. “I would like to apologise to Liam Allan. There was a terrible failure in disclosure which was inexcusable,” he said.

Who is going to get fired for this?

47 comments on “Sigh

  1. Nobody, I expect. Policemen and ex-policemen are all out in force on Twitter claiming their colleagues did nothing wrong. It’s high time the British public woke up to the fact that the British police are no more on the public’s side than the Stasi were.

  2. I’m sure Tim N is right. It’s a sad truth that apart from acting as prettily adorned marshalls for gay awareness celebrations and providing rapid response teams to combat hate crime the roles the busies consider appropiate to their “service” are severely curtailed.

  3. … evil Tory austerity .. lessons have been learned … no-one really to blame … nothing to see here … move along please …

  4. Mr Newman is correct. They are friends of CM only and care nothing for any matter except slime-ing themselves up the greasy cop ladder. By claiming your scalp as a “result” and piss on innocent/guilty in reality.

    From Wendy McIlroy’s website–USA police but still true.

    Do not ever give a statement to the police.

    They will say you can go home after. YOU CAN’T.

    They will say they just want to help. THEY DON’T.

    They will say you are not a suspect. YOU ARE.

    STOP TALKING. SAY NOTHING.LAWYER UP.

    THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND.

  5. @ Chris Miller

    Yep, no one individual could be identified as screwing up. Lesson will be learned. Same f*ck up somewhere else in government later on.

    This is the reason you need small government – less opportunity to bollocks things up.

  6. Absolutely, Mr Ecks, they are never trying to prove innocence, always guilt, and since they are a bunch of self-serving bastards who don’t give a fig for the law or justice, ‘proof’ is as good as proof.

  7. Fair play to the prosecution barrister for doing his job to present evidence rather than treating it as a game he wants to win.

  8. A couple of years ago, I did jury service. A couple were accused of drug smuggling. One of the parties was an open and shut case. The other one, we actually wanted to find guilty, but the evidence against him as presented by the rozzers was utter crap. I felt quite sorry for the young prosecuting barrister having to try and convince us. Although we were all-white we were a pretty good cross-section. There was so much that would have been easily obtained that could have nailed this guy, if they really wanted to. They just assumed that we would take their smears against this chap in court at face value and not actually discuss the evidence. But the judge said that we should only go by the evidence and that was what we did.

  9. It does make one wonder if this is one of the pitfalls of an adversarial justice system.
    It works very well when the people involved in it can be relied on to have good intentions. But is vulnerable when the prosecuting side is pressured to produce more convictions.

  10. Who’s gonna be fired? Dom’t you mean who’s gonna be prosecuted?

    Not listening g to all those tapes to save money I can believe. When the defence asks for them, however, to pretend yoy know there is nothing of interest on them is perverting the course of justice.

  11. Presumably if the police had lost this disc, or if the accuser had carefully wiped her phone’s history, the man would be locked up for twenty years on her word alone?

    Now there’s a frightening thought.

  12. He’s a criminology undergrad, guess he’s got a few more ideas as to what his dissertation is going to be.

  13. I don’t think that one can really ever delete a phone’s history, it is all held on servers and backed up. Besides don’t the phone companies have to keep a year’s worth of data these days ?

    In the good old days, when I used to build e-mail servers, a user could delete a message and it would be gone from the server. but bnow for those using a corporate account or Yahoo etc there is always a copy somewhere-

  14. There is clearly a case to nade here that the woman has made false allegations.

    Frankly the police can and will go all over Facebook and Twitter defending each other’s integrity and denouncing anyone daring to question them. They are fucking liars and should be held up as such.

  15. The relationship between the cops and the CPS is crap. The CPS blame the cops for their unmanageable workload (cops arresting and charging too many people). The cops need as many arrests as possible to climb the greasy pole. CPS people regularly turn up in court without the necessary paperwork or even basic knowledge about the case they are supposed to be prosecuting, because the cops didn’t provide the info on time. The cops make decisions about charging suspects with a crime with no input from the CPS about the likelihood of a conviction, and end up dropping thousands of charges due to a lack of real evidence required for a conviction in court. Imagine the waste of police resources involved there. Then to top it all, even when a conviction is secured, the perp just gets given community service & a ‘victim’ surcharge fine cos the prisons are full.

  16. From the Beeb:
    “The BBC’s Legal Correspondent Clive Coleman said he understood the defence had asked repeatedly for the phone messages to be disclosed, which included details saying how the the alleged victim had spoken to friends about how much she enjoyed having sex with Mr Allan.

    Mr Allan’s solicitor Simone Meerabux said when her client was arrested he had told police about the existence of the messages but “in spite of all that he was charged”.

    She said prior to the trial the CPS had told them there was “nothing further to disclose” and it was only after they reiterated their request on the first day in court that the information was made available”.

    But it’s ok because the CPS “will now be conducting a management review together with the Metropolitan Police to examine the way in which this case was handled.”

    I think the phrase “gross negligence” would be the kindest possible description.

    Can we string them all up?

  17. Save costs?

    This is why I’m always so suspicious when the state cries poverty. Sending that evidence would take a copper 5 minutes. Even at met police time, that’s going to be no more than a tenner.

    You typically find when you work with the public sector that it’s all a bit casual and that 99% of people are out the door as soon as 5:30 comes.

    And yes, this isn’t a luxury, unlike repainting police cars for Pride festivals. If you’ve got money for that, it’s because you’ve done what you absolutely must do.

  18. “A couple of years ago, I did jury service. A couple were accused of drug smuggling. One of the parties was an open and shut case. The other one, we actually wanted to find guilty, but the evidence against him as presented by the rozzers was utter crap.”

    Why did you want to lock them up?

    It’s my dream to get on a jury for a drug crime, just to throw a spanner into the war on drugs by declaring them not guilty and trying to convince the other jurors to do likewise.

  19. Oh…it’s that Jerry Hayes.. i suppose not really relevant he used to be an MP and tipped himself to be PM… but interesting.

  20. A thing that repeatedly comes up is the police/CPS taking a wholly partisan line instead of scoping out a matter properly.

    A relative was accused of assaulting his ex partner. The police didn’t even question him thoroughly about it and proceeded to Crown Court using uncorroborated statements from her.

    Fortunately for him she had constructed a very wonky web of lies and conflicting statements that fell apart immediately at court and her background of anti depressant medication abuse surfaced to add to the embarrassment.

    It would seem that police / CPS didn’t even bother to look at their own evidence which the barrister destroyed over a couple of hours topped off with an admission from her in the witness box that she’d made it up.

    So in just one provincial incident that’s several hundred hours of everybody’s time and public money on something that should never have gone to court in the first place..

    I’d like to believe this isn’t a common occurrence – the reality seems at odds with what I’d like.

  21. I’ve done jury duty as well, most of the other jurers were of the attitude “he’s a bad ‘un, guilty”, but I insisted we go through the charges and evidence, resulting in us finding the accused being not guilty of two of the six charges.

  22. Bloke on M4

    “Why did you want to lock them up?”

    Apparently we’re not allowed to string ’em up anymore.

    Bah PC lunacy gone mad.

  23. Actually prima facie, if we were just presented with the bare facts, we would have found him guilty. It was only in the course of the trial that the prosecution case unravelled and we concluded that he was a fall guy/dupe in the affair.

  24. In the UK, there’s no absolute right to silence unlike the US. But what are the pros and cons of adopting the “don’t talk to cops” rule? Like, at every stage of the proceedings, say absolutely nothing except through counsel? It doesn’t seem like saying anything could actually help, but can keeping schtum really hurt you?

  25. Silence

    They use it in the trial. The prosecution try to imply that the defendant has something to hide or has not been able to concoct a story. Usually batted back with “my lawyer told me to do so.”

    Something like it happened to the Stpehen Lawrence blokes. Afterwards police released a tape of his interrogation, where some fat cop was asking Norris/Dobson ( not sure which) how can he explain this trace of DNA in an evidence bag. Instead of answering “Cos you planted it there fascist!” or “Cos you fuckers have contaminated the evidence.” He said “No comment” and that was used as an implication of his guilt.

    In our trial it looked like desperation from the prosecution brief and we weren’t taken in.

  26. Be interesting to see whether young Jeremy’s prosecuting career flourishes as a result. Oddly enough I doubt it’ll be harmed.

    And yes, well done him.

  27. The State has decreed that it wants more prosecutions for rape, and so the State will get them, one way or another.

    No-one will be disciplined for this, let alone sacked or prosecuted. How can you be sacked for carrying out the wishes of your superiors?

  28. He [Jerry Hayes, the prosecuting barrister & former Conservative MP] warned of the risks of “serious miscarriages of justice” after hearing that, to save costs, material was not always handed to defence lawyers.

    The socialist not-a-conservative was on C4 News tonight spouting the same “cuts” bollocks.

    It wasn’t “cuts” which caused Mr Plod to lie to CPS & Defense; he deliberately withheld the evidence, possibly to support the State’s position that all women are “victims to be believed”.

    Notable was C4 did not report the content of withheld evidence, narrative was about “cuts”.

  29. @dearieme: in the sense that the prosecution is able to request the jury to draw an inference from the defendant’s refusal to answer questions put to him by the police while in custody, which as far as I am aware is not the case in the US. It’s the bit in the post-PACE caution that says, “it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.” But the next bit is “Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” The prosecution will never use anything you say in an exculpatory fashion, so these two things are at cross-purposes. I would like to think that keeping your trap shut is best in both the US and the UK, but it would be nice to have that confirmed by a UK legal bod.

  30. From my experience interviewing for prosecution, you should make a full statement after the event.

    That includes answering any specific questions. But never do it on the fly, and never do it in the heat of the moment. Too easy to say something foolish.

    You are expected to answer questions, but it need not be on their terms.

  31. “in the sense that the prosecution is able to request the jury to draw an inference from the defendant’s refusal to answer questions put to him by the police while in custody, which as far as I am aware is not the case in the US. ”

    (i) England & Wales is not “the UK”.

    (ii) To call the prosecution’s ability to allude to the defendant’s silence a breach of the right to silence seems to me to be erroneous. It just ain’t. The average housebreaker, drug dealer, or rapist cannot be jailed for silence in England & Wales.

    (iii) WKPD: “The 1994 Act modified this … This is similar to the right to silence clause in the Miranda Warning in the US.”

  32. Just look at the language they use and the basis is clear, the official response being ‘Upon a review of that material, it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.’ which reads more like he’s guilty we just can’t prove it not an apology to an innocent man

  33. You could get lucky and get a judge like Peter Cook:

    “You will probably have noticed that three of the defendants have very wisely chosen to exercise their inalienable right not to go into the witness box to answer a lot of impertinent questions. I will merely say that you are not to infer from this anything other than that they consider the evidence against them so flimsy that it was scarcely worth their while to rise from their seats and waste their breath denying these ludicrous charges…”

  34. BiCR, I think opinions vary as to its being best to keep your trap shut. Just depends on the case. But there is certainly ample scope in English law for remaining silent to come back and bite you on the buttocks.

    Interestingly, witnesses often wish they’d kept their traps shut. It’s rarely spelled out to them that by making a statement they can and quite likely will if necessary be compelled to come to court to give evidence. And months down the line from the original allegation many witnesses find that have better things to do with their time.

  35. You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.

    So no inference is drawn from silence, but you can’t spring a previously unmentioned defence at the actual trial. (IANAL)

  36. “you can’t spring a previously unmentioned defence at the actual trial”: I suspect you can but that the prosecution barrister can then point out that it’s odd that you didn’t use it earlier.

    I suppose that this ability to be explicit was granted because some jurors are so thick that they might not pick up on arch insinuations to the same effect.

  37. My assumption is, since I’m law-abiding, that if I were being questioned by the police it would be in connection with something I hadn’t done, in which case keeping quiet would be a very good idea.

  38. BiCR, where the law allows an adverse inference, I should not automatically bank on your own sense of innocence to determine the question.

    The effect of the law allowing an adverse inference is that you are expected to assist in your own prosecution. Failure to do so is considered suggestive.

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