Narita Bahra appeared on Sarah Montague’s BBC Radio 4 News last week to discuss the increasingly concerning issue of disclosure failures.
Narita has been involved in numerous high profile cases where disclosure been an issue and resulted in the collapse of the case. In a human trafficking case Narita and the defence team were only informed that there were 65,000 messages from the complainant a few days before the trail. These messages contained evidence that completely undermined the case. The defendant had spent over 13 months in jail awaiting trial, and even had to give birth to genetically disabled son in custody. Read more about the case here. In a tax case, a case officer withheld material to everyone until the last day of the prosecution case. The trial judge refused to grant the prosecution further time to remedy the identified material failings in the disclosure exercise.
In her interview, Narita describes how the main issues with disclosure failings lie in lack of resources and training. She describes how the system is being squeezed financially. Due to new cuts, defence teams are beginning to feel the squeeze themselves and are being heavily relied upon to diligent and persistently request disclosure.
To hear the full interview, click here.