Discovery failures

All current rape and serious sexual assault cases in England and Wales are to be reviewed “as a matter of urgency” to ensure evidence has been disclosed.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders warned the review could see “a number of cases” dropped.

It comes after the collapse of several rape trials because evidence had not been shared with defence lawyers.

BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said there had been a failure to share digital evidence in each of the cases.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright said there was no evidence of “widespread malpractice or dishonesty”, but police and prosecutors needed to get to grips with the way they handled electronic evidence.

In the lead up to criminal trials, police and prosecutors have a duty to disclose evidence or information that might either help the defence case, or harm the prosecution’s case.

However, the system has come under scrutiny after the collapse of a number of trials, heightening concerns that evidence is not being disclosed early enough – or that rules are not being followed.

Concerns have also been raised that potentially key information taken from mobile phones, computers and social media is not being shared.

So reports BBC.