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Statement from the DPP regarding the South Wales case collapse

26/01/2012

Statement from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, concerning the discontinuance of the trial of eight former police officers accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in South Wales (R vs Mouncher and others).

The DPP said: "Shortly after the collapse of this trial, I initiated a full and detailed review of the circumstances in which the decision to offer no further evidence was made. I asked leading counsel for the prosecution to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for the decision.

"I have now considered that analysis and as part of the review have decided to ask Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, an independent statutory body, to consider the way in which the prosecution team conducted the disclosure exercise in this case."

Mr Starmer said he had agreed the following terms of reference with HM Chief Inspector, Michael Fuller. The HMCPSI's independent review is to examine, and make findings in respect of, the following matters:

  • Whether the prosecution team (CPS and counsel) approached, prepared and managed disclosure in this case effectively, bearing in mind the history, size and complexity of the investigation and prosecution;
  • Whether the prosecution team (CPS and counsel) complied with their disclosure duties properly, including all relevant guidance and policy relating to disclosure, in light of the extensive material generated in this case;
  • Whether the existing legal guidance is appropriate for cases of similar size and complexity;
  • To make such recommendations as it feels appropriate in light of the examination and findings set out above, including, if appropriate, recommendations about CPS policy and guidance, and/or systems and processes, and CPS arrangements for handling of cases of similar size and complexity.

Mr Fuller said:  "It is important that the public can have confidence in the way the CPS conducts its cases and the Inspectorate will examine the issues with the utmost thoroughness. Inevitably this will take time but will be completed as soon as is practicable and a report prepared for the DPP.

"South Wales Police has decided to refer their part in this matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and we will work in tandem with the IPCC inquiry into what happened. Both organisations are committed to sharing all relevant information with each other and arrangements are being made to ensure there is meaningful liaison between the two inquiries." 

Ends