For 20 years governments have competed to be the toughest on crime. When the current government came to power in 1997 this process accelerated. There has been an unending succession of Acts of Parliament reducing protections for the defendant and making it easier to get convictions.
Among the main provisions leading to miscarriages of justice are:-
- Telling the jury about the defendant’s character
- New disclosure rules which hide relevant evidence from the defence
- Cuts in funding to pay for lawyers
- More generous funding for prosecution experts than for defence
Huge incentives have been created within the criminal justice process for those who give evidence for the Crown including new homes, freedom from prosecution and cash inducements of various kinds. In such a context miscarriages of justice can occur all too easily.
Added to all this, the media have campaigned relentlessly against “criminals”. No-one anticipates the effect this has on juries until it happens to them. Then it is too late.
Hickman & Rose has an enviable record of success at the CCRC and on appeal, based on thorough analysis of what goes wrong at trial, the relentless search for new evidence and extensive experience of presenting cases in the Court of Appeal.