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Related Sector: Investigations. Who does it affect? This change in disclosure processes affects all investigators who have a duty to conduct investigations with a view to establishing whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.
This includes prosecution by way of summons or postal requisition. What are the main changes you need to know? The main revision is a streamlined procedure in summary cases that are expected to end in a guilty plea, so that a schedule of unused material need not be served in such cases. The previous version of the code was published in However, the Common Law duty to disclose material which may assist the defence at bail hearings or in the early preparation of their case remains for further detail see paragraph 6.
The policy to complete full schedules and reports, in part to assist the prosecutor assess the material in the case, might continue.
However, this streamlined procedure, applied in accordance with the revised CPIA Code, could help save time and money for investigations.
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Important Changes to the CPIA ( Disclosure) Code of Practice
One of the most common reasons for a criminal case to be lost is a failure of the process relating to disclosure of unused material. If this happens the guilty go free and there can often be considerable reputational damage to the organisation who brought the prosecution. At the heart of every investigation is the obligation, in the CPIA and Code of Practice, to pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry whether these point towards or away from the suspect. In the early stages of the investigation it may not be clear whether an offence has been committed, whether a prosecution is likely to follow and whether material obtained may be used in evidence or will be unused. Following reasonable lines of enquiry and recording and retaining of relevant material requires considerable professional expertise. The distinction between evidential and unused material often only becomes apparent as the investigation progresses. The prosecution team should take the opportunity to confirm or rebut potential and proffered defences, and should be aware of the extent to which any disclosable material might weaken the case.
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