The CPIA Codes of Practice and other guidance material explain how investigators and the prosecuting Solicitor (collectively, ‘the prosecution team’) have agreed to fulfil their duties to disclose unused material to the defence. These duties arise under statute and at common law. It is important that the prosecution team adopt consistent practices.
The obligations in Criminal Prosecutions to appoint a dedicated Disclosure Officer is mandatory. There is a difference between the disclosure provisions for Magistrates and Crown Court cases.
This course will examine fully the legal responsibilities placed on the Disclosure Officer. The course is practical with the use of cases studies which contain all types of material, including sensitive Public Interest Immunity (PII) material. It will provide the delegates with confidence to identify what types of material are relevant and which would be sensitive or non-sensitive and how to complete the relevant disclosure forms. They will also be shown how to complete and sign the Disclosure Certificate which is a requirement in all cases.
Human Rights Act article 6 (A Right to a Fair Trial) and CPIA
- Abuse of process arguments
- How arguments can be made by the defence that a failure to disclose correctly affects Article 6 and jeopardising your case
- The right of the defence to examine the fairness or lawfulness of the process by which evidence has been obtained
- The necessity to ensure proper disclosure of both evidential and unused material.
Performing the Disclosure Officer Role from the Beginning of the Case
- Recording of information throughout the investigation and its impact
- Disclosure strategy and the impact on the disclosure process
Examine in depth, the roles of the Officer in Charge, Investigator and Disclosure Officer
- Applying the CPIA rules from the beginning of the case
- Day to day management of disclosure material and the role it plays throughout your investigation such as interview planning
- The impact of role allocation upon a contested hearing
- The importance to demonstrate the rationale of any decisions made by the OIC
- Disclosure officers and assistant Disclosure Officers
- A thorough examination of the responsibilities of the Disclosure Officer
- Common Law Disclosure
- The effect the abilities of the Disclosure Officer has on a contested hearing
Performing the Disclosure Officer Role from the point of preparation of the prosecution file
- Reviewing material
- Management of the material
Joint working and the CPIA responsibilities
- Service level agreements and roles within the process
- Ensuring all parties fully understand the disclosure implications
How to apply the test of ‘relevance’
- Identify what material must be disclosed to the prosecutor
- Understand what is meant by impact upon a material fact
- Retention of the unused material and continuing responsibilities to review
The term – assists the defence or undermines the prosecution case
- Likely material that may assist the defence
- Previous convictions of witnesses and disciplinary records of officers
- Draft statements
Sensitive and non- sensitive material
- How to identify sensitive and non-sensitive material
- Explore examples in the Code of Practice and relate examples to workplace material
- The correct completion of the schedules
- How to categorise and organise large volumes of material into manageable categories for entry onto the schedules
How to manage specific issues relating to material
- Third party material
- Notes and communications by expert witnesses
- Communications and advice from prosecuting solicitors
- Pre-trial meetings and discussions
Covert operations / methods and their impact on the disclosure process
- Specific guidance relating to RIPA activity, whether it be surveillance or obtaining communications data, and other methods of investigation which may be regarded as sensitive such as research of social networking sites, and how to manage disclosure of these activities
- The Public Interest and Evidential Test and disclosure issues
- Management of sensitive material
- Liaison between prosecutor, Disclosure Officer and the Officer in Charge
- Defence statements, content, timing, inferences to be drawn if no defence statement made
- Defence witness interviews by prosecution prior to trial
Public Interest Immunity (PII)
- What is Public Interest Immunity?
- What is a Public Interest Immunity Hearing?
- When should it be used
- The different types of hearing
- What is expected of the parties involved?
- What if disclosure ordered by court, sanitisation?