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Evidence (Disclosure To Defence)

Volume 983: debated on Monday 28 April 1980

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asked the Attorney-General whether he is satisfied with the procedure for informing a defendant of matters material to his defence or appeal, as exemplified in Regina v. Lindo; and if he will make a statement.

The problem is likely to arise in three main situations:

  • (i) On appeal I am satisfied with the procedures which will now be followed by the Criminal Appeal Office and which are summarised in the answer given to the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 22 April.—[Vol. 984, c. 176–177];
  • (ii) In proceedings conducted by the Director of Public Prosecutions. I am satisfied with the procedures followed by him, which will be well known to the right hon. and learned Member;
  • (iii) In proceedings conducted by other persons over whom neither the Law Officers nor the Lord Chancellor have any direct control. However, if the Director is asked for his advice under the Prosecution of Offences Regulations he will advise that the matter be referred immediately to the applicants' legal advisers for the appropriate action.
  • The law places certain obligations as to disclosure on prosecutors. It is consequently for the prosecuting solicitor and, ultimately, counsel to make the appropriate disclosures.The question of what ought to be disclosed is a very difficult one, which has been referred to the Royal Commission on criminal procedure for its consideration.