The Metropolitan Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have today, Tuesday, 30 January, published the findings of the joint review carried out into the disclosure failures in the case of R v Allan, which was dropped at trial in December 2017.
The joint review focused on the disclosure process in this case and specifically the handling of material recovered from the complainant's mobile telephone. It is clear that there was a failure, both by the Met and CPS, to properly disclose all the relevant material in this case to the defence.
The review includes a number of recommendations for the Met and CPS including:
- to develop a joint CPS/Police Disclosure Improvement Plan reflecting local issues and nationally agreed priorities by February 2018;
- a nationally agreed joint CPS/Police protocol and process for the examination of digital media in each case;
- provide additional disclosure training to all police officers;
- develop a key group of accredited police specialist disclosure experts in each borough;
- appoint 'Disclosure Champions' in the CPS;
- appoint a Metropolitan Police Disclosure lead at Chief Officer level and a Tactical Disclosure lead at Chief Superintendent or Superintendent level.
These sit alongside the recommendations set out in the National Disclosure Improvement Plan that was agreed by the CPS, National Police Chiefs' Council and College of Policing, and published on Friday, 26 January.
Commander Richard Smith and Chief Crown Prosecutor for London South, Claire Lindley, have met with Mr Allan and apologised to him about the handling of the case. The officers involved in the investigation, and the CPS, have also apologised to the complainant in relation to this case.
Following this case, the Met and CPS immediately began a review of rape cases where someone had been charged and were progressing towards a trial.
The Met and CPS then made the decision to review all active rape and serious sexual offence cases - this equates to 600 cases being examined. As part of our commitment to ensure that all procedures and disclosure work has been complied with, 120 police officers have been seconded from across the Met to undertake this work.
Commander Richard Smith, said: "I met with Mr Allan yesterday to discuss the findings and I apologised to him on behalf of the Met.
"It is clear from our review that both the Met and the CPS did not carry out disclosure procedures properly in this case. Although we are confident there was no malicious intent in this case, it was important that we carried out this urgent review and learn lessons from it.
"Those lessons will now be adopted across not only the sexual offences teams, but across the Met.
"The review of our live cases is ongoing - to expedite this process, and show our commitment to ensuring we have complied with processes, we have drafted in 120 officers to work full time on it.
"There are important lessons for us to learn from this case. Equally, there are important lessons for the criminal justice system."
Claire Lindley, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London South, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This case has highlighted some systemic and deep-rooted issues that have been apparent to those working in the criminal justice system for some time.
"The prosecutors involved in this case did not sufficiently challenge the police about digital material. That meant that it took longer than was necessary to drop Mr Allan's case. For that, the CPS has offered an unreserved apology to him which I delivered to him in person yesterday.
"It is vital that lessons are learned from this case and others which have come to light over recent weeks where disclosure obligations have not been met.
"It is incumbent on all parties in the criminal justice system to ensure that these issues are addressed, and we have been working with our partners since last summer on a range of measures designed to improve performance in this crucial area.
"The recommendations in today's report sit alongside the concrete steps to improve disclosure nationally that were announced in last week's joint police/CPS improvement plan.
"We continue to work with the Metropolitan Police to identify any individual cases of concern as a matter of urgency. Senior prosecutors are assessing all live rape and serious sexual assault cases to check they are satisfied that disclosure obligations have been met.
"It is right that we satisfy ourselves that decisions are being made as soon as they possibly can be."