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The “near miss” of Liam Allan: Critical problems in police disclosure, investigation culture, and the resourcing of criminal justice

Smith, Tom

Authors

Tom Smith Thomas8.Smith@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Law



Abstract

Miscarriages of justice have historically acted as catalysts for reform. It seems we only learn to fix the most serious problems — often obvious to those at the coal-face of practice — once the damage is done. Such miscarriages have largely resulted in attempts to learn from the abuses and mistakes of those trusted with power. It is unusual for a “near miss” (that is, when a wrongful conviction is (just about) avoided) to come to public attention at all, let alone highlight the range of chronic problems troubling English and Welsh criminal justice. The case of Liam Allan is one such “near miss”, and amply highlights significant and, until recently, under-reported problems related to the disclosure of evidence by the police at the earliest stages of the criminal justice system. They typify the flawed structure of the current system which, without radical action, will inevitably lead to repeated injustice for accused persons and victims of crime; wasting of time and resources; and a loss of public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system. This article focuses primarily on Allan’s case, and examines this issue by addressing three specific concerns: the disclosure of evidence and information by the police; investigation culture, particularly in relation to allegations of sexual offences; and the wider problem of resourcing of the criminal justice system.

Citation

Smith, T. (2018). The “near miss” of Liam Allan: Critical problems in police disclosure, investigation culture, and the resourcing of criminal justice. Criminal Law Review -London-, 711-731

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2018
Publication Date Aug 8, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 9, 2019
Journal Criminal Law Review
Print ISSN 0011-135X
Publisher Sweet and Maxwell
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Issue 9
Pages 711-731
Keywords criminal procedure, police, miscarriages of justice, disclosure
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/863103
Publisher URL http://www.sweetandmaxwell.co.uk/catalogue/productdetails.aspx?recordid=478

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