Welsh Women’s Aid view on the disclosure of evidence in criminal trials report

Welsh Women’s Aid, alongside Rape Crisis England and Wales and the End Violence Against Women coalition (EVAW), believe that the Committee have missed a significant opportunity to hold UK Ministers, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Police and the judiciary to account for failing to deliver justice to survivors of rape, sexual violence and sexual assault.

We are particularly concerned that police and prosecutors seek to provide digital evidence to be used to show an individual’s sexual history. MPs appear not to have reflected on these grave concerns in the report.

Eleri Butler, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid said:

“This report is alarming to say the least, it is alarming to hear that the Director of Public Prosecutions ‘did not sufficiently recognise the extent and seriousness of their failures’ and that is has been estimated that 90% of cases were stopped due to disclosure errors.

The correct disclosure of evidence by the police and CPS to the defence is absolutely essential to a fair trial and it is not acceptable to hear that many alleged perpetrators were not held to account. This can have a long term and serious impact on the victims and survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault.

Furthermore, we agree with Rape Crisis England and Wales in that there is a lack of clarity around what reasonable lines of inquiry consist of, and whether this will further deteriorate victims’ and survivors’ trust in the criminal justice system.

We welcome the shift in culture towards viewing disclosures as a core justice duty and agree that there needs to be correct and sufficient technology to review the large volumes of material collected by the police.”

To read the full report please click here or to read the report summary please click here.