Police Officers (False Evidence)

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1993.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Eltham 12:00 am, 22nd March 1993

To ask the Attorney-General if it is his practice to review other similar cases involving any police officer convicted of concocting or giving false evidence.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Attorney General (Law Officers)

Whenever a police officer is convicted of such an offence, the Crown prosecution service reviews all pending prosecutions and appeals, of which it is aware, in which that officer is involved.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Eltham

The House will be glad to have heard my right hon. and learned Friend's answer. He will not know that one of my first cases 17 years ago was that of a young man who had been wrongly convicted on the false evidence of a detective constable. It was only by chance, five years later, when the detective constable had become a detective sergeant in a different police service, that we saw a newspaper report about his conviction, which led to the quashing of an unsafe conviction some time before. Will my right hon. and learned Friend consider consulting the prosecuting authorities and the chief constables to find out whether it would be possible to re-examine concluded cases, sometimes going back over many years, in order to ascertain whether there have been miscarriages of justice which might be detected?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Attorney General (Law Officers)

It is not necessarily easy to trace back in every case to find out exactly which officer gave evidence. However, in any case where the Crown prosecution service has reason to believe that such an officer's evidence may have adversely affected the safety of a conviction, the Crown prosecution service will take steps to ensure proper disclosure to the defendant so that he may take such action, by way of appeal, albeit out of time, as he thinks fit.