Free David Ferguson

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Blog entry 6th September 2017

As of yet there is little news from my solicitor in respect of the continued forensic re-testing. In their last letter they informed me that the forensic lab was waiting for Kent Police to send them evidence samples so that comparison runs could be performed.

Despite a written advice from my barrister requesting that my solicitor pursue the withheld evidence substantiating my alibi, my solicitor still hasn't done so. Therefore I have taken matters into my own hands. On the 21st August I wrote to Kent CPS stating that I had evidence that Kent Police had failed to disclose four specific sections of evidence that would have assisted my defence at trial. These being:-

  • Item MJP/15, a knife found at the murder scene described as matching the description of the murder weapon and of being damp when recovered by the police.
  • A bare footprint, referred to on my custody log and described as either proving or disproving my involvement in the murder by the police.
  • My medicine bottle which proves that I was at a chemists at the crucial time period.
  • Witness statements from the chemists where I collected my prescription (the medicine bottle) from.

I have asked Kent CPS to acknowledge receipt of my letter requesting this disclosure by Monday 11th September.

I decided to pursue this withheld evidence myself after obtaining a full copy of the Chief Inspector of Constabulary's recent report into police force's widespread failure to give defendants the necessary level of evidence disclosure required by the Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1996. Then report entitled 'Making it Fair: A joint inspection of the disclosure of unused material in volume Crown Court cases', makes for worrying reading. The inspectorate reviewed a selection of recently concluded Crown Court cases. Thirty-six of the 90 cases reviewed related to sexually motivated accusations. Only 18.9% of those examined cases met the required standard of disclosure in line with the Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act 1996. This means that of the reviewed cases 81.1% should not have proceeded to trial.

Of equal concern are certain statements in the report. For example:-

  • Many of our findings (failure to provide the necessary level of disclosure to defendants) are not new and many have been emphasised in previous reviews.
  • A culture of acceptance exists amongst the parties involved in the disclosure process, who look for ways of working around its failures rather than fixing the root problems.
  • Police scheduling is routinely poor, while revelation by the police to the prosecutor of material that may undermine the prosecution cases or assist the defence case is rare.
  • Judges spoken to expressed a lack of confidence in the prosecutions ability to manage the disclosure process.
  • Until the police and CPS take their responsibilities in dealing with disclosure in volume cases more seriously, no improvement will result and the likelihood of a fair trial can be jeopardised.

With these report statements in mind the necessity for Kent Police and CPS to now hand over the earlier referred to 4 areas of withheld evidence in my case is unquestionable.

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