Discovering the Evidence Against You: Disclosure in Scotland & Abroad

Discovering the Evidence Against You: Disclosure in Scotland & Abroad

Forthcoming Summer 2016:

The disclosure of Crown material to the defence in governed in Scotland by Part 6 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, which arose as a result of Lord Coulsfield’s review in 2007 and extensive consultation thereafter. Under s121(3)  the Prosecutor has a duty to disclose information to the defence if that information: (a) would materially weaken/ undermine the Crown evidence against the accused (b) would materially strengthen the accused’s case, or (c) is likely to form part Crown’s evidence. In practise, in Scotland, the defence face significant barriers in accessing information from the Scottish Police Authority in relation to criminal prosecutions. The defence is further hampered by the outsourcing of scientific roles to private companies abroad, which have even more restrictive practises affecting the rights of the accused.

This paper outlines the realities of trying to access relevant information from state laboratories and private institutions involved in the Scottish criminal justice system. Overall, the current state of practise significantly and deleteriously impacts upon the right of the accused to know the evidence against him and raises fundamental questions about criminal justice in Scotland.

With A. Jamieson and S. Bader.