Rape Victims: Disclosure of Evidence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Independent, Nottingham East 4:33 pm, 29th April 2019

Of course there has to be disclosure relevant to the defence—nobody would dispute that—but this is about the question of what is relevant, especially when, as Ms Harman said, an alleged assailant is a complete stranger. The impact of this full disclosure requirement, and the headlines in the newspapers, was truly atrocious. Potential victims of sexual assault or rape will have seen some of those headlines, whether it be “Digital strip-search” or “Hand over your phone now”. This is nothing short of a public relations disaster in our criminal justice system. The Minister really should take up the opportunity to review this document and correct that; otherwise fewer people will come forward and report crimes.