Sam Barker, instructed by Wessex Solicitors, represented a Defendant accused of luring a man with whom he had a business disagreement to an address before violently detaining and torturing him at Portsmouth Crown Court.
The allegation arose from an incident in June 2017, but the case had problems from the outset, leading to an ‘inexplicable’ delay in charging for over 2 years. The case hinged on evidence obtained from mobile telephone downloads from the three Defendants, after the Complainant refused to provide his own telephone.
Wessex Solicitors had actively sought to engage with the Prosecution over disclosure, and repeatedly set out the Defence’s concerns. By day two of the trial, Sam applied to exclude the core evidence in the case on the basis that the disclosure exercise had been so badly conducted by the Police and Prosecution that the evidence’s use would make the proceedings unfair. The Judge described the history of the case as ‘long and alarming’ and identified ‘a number of failures by the Prosecution and Police’ to comply with ‘the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, or judicial orders, or indeed any compliance with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act, and the Criminal Procedure Rules’.
In excluding all of the telephone material which made up the bulk of the Prosecution’s case, the Judge concluded that “there has been a catastrophic failure to disclose this material correctly, properly, and in a way that gives one any confidence that all the duties have been complied with.”
2 Harcourt Buildings and Wessex Solicitors has extensive experience in disclosure exercises which are large and complex, and is able to advise at all stages of criminal proceedings. Many members of Chambers have advised Government teams, investigators, and specialist prosecution units during ongoing cases. Disclosure has become a fiercely contested battle-ground for large trials, and Chambers is able to offer barristers of all levels with outstanding experience to assist in these areas, whether prosecuting or defending.