source: Inside Justice
published: 18 June 2014
The Supreme Court this morning rejected a challenge to a refusal by police to disclose evidence made to assist the overturning of a conviction, in a test case for miscarriages of justice. Giving judgment, Lord Thomas called upon the Criminal Cases Review Commission – which he called ‘the safety net’ in such disputes – not to limit its inquiries to when a reasonable prospect of such a conviction being quashed was ‘already demonstrated’.
The appeal concerned the case of Kevin Nunn, convicted in 2006 of murdering his former partner Dawn Walker. In March 2012, the Divisional Court upheld a refusal by Suffolk Police to allow access to case material so it could be tested (at the family’s expense) using techniques not available at the trial.
Critically, the court ruled the state’s duty to provide disclosure ended on conviction. Other forces have been refusing to co-operate with other appeals in anticipation of today’s ruling.
Today’s ruling concerned the post-conviction duty of disclosure. ‘The basis of the common law duty of disclosure is fairness,’ explained Lord Thomas giving judgment.