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Chapter 10: The Disclosure Officer's Report

The contents of the MG6E

10.1. The disclosure officer should use the MG6E to bring to the prosecutor's attention any material that could reasonably be considered capable of undermining the prosecution case against the accused or of assisting the case for the accused. This also applies to sensitive material. Examples include:

  • records of previous convictions and cautions for prosecution witnesses
  • any other information which casts doubt on the reliability of a prosecution witness or on the accuracy of any prosecution evidence
  • any motives for the making of false allegations by a prosecution witness
  • any material which may have a bearing on the admissibility of any prosecution evidence
  • the fact that a witness has sought, been offered or received a reward
  • any material that might go to the credibility of a prosecution witness
  • any information which may cast doubt on the reliability of a confession. Any item which relates to the accused's mental or physical health, his intellectual capacity, or to any ill-treatment which the accused may have suffered when in the investigators custody is likely to have the potential for casting doubt on the reliability of a purported confession
  • information that a person other than the accused was or might have been responsible or which points to another person whether charged or not (including a co-accused) having involvement in the commission of the offence.

10.2. The disclosure officer should also explain on form MG6E (by referring to the relevant item's number on the schedule) why he or she has come to that view. The MG6C itself should not be marked or highlighted in any way, as it will be provided to the defence.

10.3. This will include anything that may weaken an essential part of the prosecution case. Any material that supports or is consistent with a defence put forward in interview or before charge or which is apparent from the prosecution papers should be supplied to the prosecutor. It also includes anything that points away from the accused, such as information about a possible alibi. If the disclosure officer believes that material satisfies the disclosure test it should be brought to the prosecutor's attention even though it suggests a defence inconsistent with or alternative to any already advanced by the accused. Items of material viewed in isolation may not satisfy the test, however several items together can have that effect.

10.4 Such material should be brought to the prosecutor's attention regardless of any views about the accuracy or truth of the information, although where appropriate the disclosure officer may express a reasoned opinion on whether in fact the prosecutor should disclose it.

10.5. A wide interpretation should be given when identifying material that might satisfy the disclosure test. A thorough and careful check when the duty to reveal arises may save time later on. The disclosure officer should consult with the prosecutor where necessary to help identify material that may require disclosure, and must specifically draw material to the attention of the prosecutor where the disclosure officer has any doubt as to whether it might satisfy the disclosure test.

Revelation of the material to the prosecutor

10.6. Revealing material to the prosecutor does not mean automatic disclosure to the defence. The prosecutor will only disclose material to the defence if it satisfies the disclosure test set out in the CPIA 1996. If the material is sensitive, and satisfies the disclosure test, the prosecutor will either disclose the material after consultation with police, apply to the court for a ruling as to whether the public interest requires disclosure or withdraw the prosecution.

10.7. The disclosure officer should

  • promptly send the completed schedules to the prosecutor
  • identify on form MG6E any material which might satisfy the disclosure test
  • copy material to the prosecutor for example material which in the opinion of the disclosure officer satisfies the disclosure test and material which is required routinely to be revealed
  • allow the prosecutor to inspect material.

10.8. As an aid to prosecutors in their case review function, copies of the crime report and the log of messages should be routinely copied to the prosecutor in every case in which a full file is provided. (These documents are known in different police forces by different names, for example the incident record report or CAD for the log of messages).

10.9. Copies of the crime report and log of messages should be edited (if necessary) by the police before they are sent to the prosecutor. If it is impossible to edit any sensitive parts of the material, then it should be listed on the MG6D and be sent to the prosecutor with that schedule.

10.10. This requirement routinely to reveal the crime report and the log of messages does not prejudice any other locally agreed arrangements between the police and the CPS that allow for the similar treatment of other additional categories or types of document.

10.11. In large or complicated cases or in any case where particular difficulties are anticipated, an early discussion between the disclosure officer or the officer in charge of the investigation, and the prosecutor and prosecution advocate, if instructed, may be extremely beneficial. For example, they may agree to look at the material together before the schedules are prepared. In such circumstances the disclosure officer or the officer in charge of the investigation should not hesitate to contact the prosecutor for early advice.

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Certifications by the disclosure officer

10.12. The officer in charge of the investigation must ensure that all relevant material that has been retained is either revealed to the disclosure officer, or in exceptional circumstances revealed on a highly sensitive schedule directly to the prosecutor.

10.13. If the disclosure officer is uncertain whether all the relevant retained material has been revealed, enquiries should be made of the officer in charge of the investigation to resolve the matter.

10.14. The disclosure officer must provide different certifications in the course of the disclosure process, to cover:

  • revelation of all relevant retained material 
  • whether material satisfies the disclosure test
  • whether material satisfies the disclosure test following a defence statement as part of continuing duty.

10.15. The case against each accused must be considered and certified separately.

10.16. The disclosure officer is required to certify to the prosecutor that: 'To the best of my knowledge and belief, all relevant material which has been retained and made available to me has been inspected, viewed or listened to and revealed to the prosecutor in accordance with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 as amended, the Code of Practice and the Attorney General's Guidelines.' The purpose of certification is to provide an assurance to the prosecutor on behalf of the police investigating team that all relevant material has been identified, considered and revealed to the prosecutor.

10.17. Where the disclosure officer (or deputy disclosure officer) believes there is no material that satisfies the disclosure test, the officer should endorse the MG6E in the following terms: 'I have reviewed all the relevant material which has been retained and made available to me and there is nothing to the best of my knowledge and belief that might reasonably be considered capable of undermining the prosecution case against the accused or assisting the case for the accused.

Subsequent actions

10.18. Disclosure officers must deal expeditiously with requests by the prosecutor for further information on material which may lead to it being disclosed.

10.19. A prosecutor may ask to inspect material, or request a copy of material where one has not been sent. The disclosure officer is responsible for arranging this. Material should be copied to the prosecutor on request unless it is too sensitive or too bulky, or can only be inspected. This applies to disclosure throughout the life of the case.

10.20. After considering the schedule(s), the prosecutor will endorse them with the decisions as to whether each item described will be disclosed to the defence. A copy of the endorsed schedule(s) should be sent to the disclosure officer.

Amending the schedules

10.21. On occasions it may be necessary to amend the schedules. When the schedules are first submitted with a full file, the disclosure officer may not know exactly what material the prosecutor intends to use as part of the prosecution case. The prosecutor may create unused material by extracting statements or documents from the evidence bundle, in which case the prosecutor may disclose material that satisfies the disclosure test directly to the defence without waiting for the disclosure officer to amend the schedule. However where this is done, the prosecutor should advise the officer accordingly. Police officers should ensure that obviously non-evidential material is not included in the evidence bundle.

10.22. The prosecutor is required to advise the disclosure officer of:

  • items described on the MG6C that should properly be on the MG6D and vice versa
  • any apparent omissions or amendments required
  • insufficient or unclear descriptions of items
  • or a failure to provide schedules at all.

The disclosure officer must forthwith take all necessary remedial action and provide properly completed schedules to the prosecutor. Failure to do so may result in the matter being raised with a senior officer.

10.23. The Code of Practice places the responsibility for creating the schedules and keeping them accurate and up to date on the disclosure officer. Consequently, the prosecutor should not amend schedules. In these circumstances the prosecutor should inform the disclosure officer of the changes required, and return the schedules for amendment where appropriate.

10.24. The disclosure officer should effect the amendments promptly and return the amended or fresh schedules to the prosecutor as soon as possible with a further MG6E as appropriate.

Continuing duty to disclose

10.25. The duties of revelation to the prosecutor and disclosure to the accused are continuing obligations, as set out in the relevant section. Any new material coming to light after initial disclosure has been completed should be treated in the same way as earlier material. The new material should be described on a further MG6C, MG6D or a continuation sheet. To avoid confusion, numbering of items submitted at a later stage must be consecutive to those on the previously submitted schedules.

10.26. A further MG6E should also be submitted irrespective of whether or not any of the new material is considered by the disclosure officer to satisfy the disclosure test.

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