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Over 900 prosecutions dropped after disclosure failures.

(Posted on 24/01/18)

Over 900 prosecutions dropped after disclosure failures.

CPS figures obtained by the BBC through a Freedom of Information request show a 70% increase in England and Wales for 2016/17 in prosecutions collapsing because of failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence.

Last year, 916 people had charges dropped over such a failure - up from 537 in 2014-15.

"For too long disclosure has been seen by many officers as something that is subsequent to an investigation, ie. an administrative process at the end, rather than something that should be integral," Surrey Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. 

Angela Rafferty QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, blamed a "lack of investment, training and attention to the criminal justice system", with barristers facing "a daily struggle in respect of disclosure, delays and all the other disastrous consequences of a system that is openly described by MPs as at breaking point".

A CPS spokesperson said the number of dropped cases represents just 0.15% of the total number of prosecutions, but added: "That is still too many, however, and we are clear that there are systemic disclosure issues across the criminal justice system which will require a collective effort in order to bring about improvement.

"Getting this right is a priority, and along with the police and other criminal justice partners we are working to improve how we fulfil these vital disclosure obligations."