1 Comment

Mr. Fisher as I in all reticence see it has it right. At the very least we should now move to a process where the issue of disclosure or non- disclosure should fall within the remit of the judiciary rather than be entrusted to a police or other investigative disclosure officer, where as the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee maintained under my then chairmanship such an approach had been fundamentally flawed and certain to result in many shocking examples of nondisclosure leading in turn to miscarriages of justice or the like but narrowly averted. This had never been a question on our part of (necessarily) positing the generic bad faith of the officers concerned but rather had to do with the built in training assumptions and experience of being an investigator leading to a deep seated aversion to assisting the defence in any manner or to risking the undermining of the prosecutorial case as constructed at the cost of much labour.

In the light of “my” then Committee’s urgings, its then brilliant Professional Adviser Roger Ede and I arranged to see the then Senior Presiding Judge (now sadly deceased) Igor Judge. We found him very receptive and from his in some ways different standpoint at least as concerned as were we since a number of shocking examples of the mischief we had feared had come to light. I had hoped that our interventions- since with Roger’s and the Committee’s invaluable support I never knowingly missed an opportunity to raise our concerns- had had SOME effect to the better. Much greater and EARLY judicial intervention over these vexed issues had been at the heart of our oft repeated refrain. But now here we are still with appalling instances of failure for whatever reason and something-THIS time- really MUST be done. If only that might be the quick fix but as all thinking lawyers and judges -surely- would agree there is NEVER AN answer to these challenges. What concerns me at least as much is what the Post Office scandal inquiry seems to be unearthing under the resolute chairmanship of Sir Wyn Williams about (some) lawyers’ -shall we say- questionable decisions and recommendations to the Post Office management. What-oh what- are we to do about THAT if closer scrutiny should indeed lead to a higher level of proof than at present of - I use the word again- questionable conduct? A training issue? Certainly, but in the face of the (so often) perverse driver of maximising profit can that ever be enough?

Expand full comment