5. Memorandum from Police Complaints Authority
I respond to your letter to the Authority of 7 March. I have read the Annex to the Committee's letter to the Government and have only one comment to make.
Reliance is placed by the Committee, in making its comments about the wording of Clause 20, on the decision of Mr Justice Moses in the case of R(oao Green) -v- Police Complaints Authority and others. This decision is under appeal and was before the Court of Appeal on 5 and 6 March. The parties were joined in the Court of Appeal by a number of interested parties, namely the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service and Liberty. The court reserved judgement.
The appeal rested mainly on the effect which pre hearing witness evidence disclosure would have upon the hearing of live evidence and the need to preserve the principle of non-contamination of evidence, which you will be aware is integral to the criminal justice system and is reflected in the police discipline system. Neither had much relevance to the facts of the Green case but the appeal was upon the basis that a general principle had been created which would have to be applied by police investigators, the Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service, in other cases where the risk of harm to a possible prosecution were very significant.
The wording of Clause 20 was before the Court which was very conscious that its decision on the fundamental rights and duties regarding disclosure could have an effect on the drafting of this clause.
I shall advise you when the Court's judgement has been given.
11 March 2002