Challenging convictions for historical sexual offences

4 February 2013

Garden Court North Chambers’ Mark Barlow has written an article for the Spring 2013 edition of INQUIRY, the quarterly newsletter of the Innocence Network UK providing an overview of investigating miscarriage of justice arising from historic allegations of sexual offences.

In the article Mark reviews the lessons learned from past decades, from the Orkney Child Abuse Scandal to allegations made against carers and teachers in residential institutions and the latest mexia frenzy surrounding Jimmy Seville and the resulting police investigation Operation Yewtree:

“These scandals reinforce the dangers that exist where a modern day witch-hunt takes place”

He then goes on to discuss a number of practical guidance points and the core areas which commonly arise within historic cases. These include fresh evidence, complaints made in respect of representation at trial along along with the need for a clear understanding of the principles of abuse of process, given the delay in bringing these proceedings, and finally, the process of the police investigation and issues of disclosure:

“…for with many miscarriages the successful appeals rests upon a material non-disclosure by the Prosecution….never assume that material has been disclosed”.

Mark Barlow is a door tenant at Garden Court North Chambers.

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