Facing Conviction or Appealing Against Conviction – You Need an Independent Investigation
[This article reprinted from SAFARI Issue 121]
“Our current legal system increasingly accepts a complainant’s crime allegation without question. Financial cuts to the Criminal Justice System and Policing has meant that investigations are no longer a search for the truth but rather a way of reaching performance targets. There is also an increasing time between arrest and a charging decision, and Law firms understandably will not (other than representation at the Police station) generally work on a case until that charging decision is made. The evidence gathered by the Police to support the charge is then presented to them some weeks later, but what has been happening on the accused’s behalf during these weeks and often months?
It is at this stage that Investigations Companies should be considered to help build your defence in case you are charged. It is recognised the world over that the timeliness of an investigation is most crucial but if no one is brought in to assist, then who is gathering evidence on the accused’s behalf during this period? Matters to be considered include who is evidencing their version of events? Who is speaking to the witnesses while their memories are still fresh? Who is seeking other witnesses and physical evidence that needs to be collected such as CCTV or phones/computers?
All this needs to be discovered and preserved before evidence is lost. Private Investigators have no ‘additional powers’ as such, but they do have an investigative knowledge of what is available, what the Police will be collecting and what tactics all parties can lawfully employ. This includes using their investigative knowledge to re-examine and, if necessary, challenge the evidence being gathered by the Prosecution. A good investigator knows how to act within the law, ensure that crucial evidence is gathered, and any investigative opportunities explored before they are lost.
Following any charging decision, there will also be many disclosure issues, and recent media stories have raised significant concerns in this area. A professional Investigations company will know what documents the Police will have collected as well as any internal and multi-agency documents containing information relevant to your case. These may not form part of the evidential bundle you receive, but will often contain vital relevant information depending on your defence.
Our experience is that more people are turning to Professional Investigation Companies to create an ‘equity of arms’ ensuring that ALL the evidence in the case is lawfully gathered and that the investigation is not just one sided to achieve a Prosecution performance target.
Investigators come in many forms so look for a reputable investigation company with a proven track record of conducting criminal investigations. Check that they and their staff are ‘match fit’ to conduct an in-depth investigation on your behalf. They should have recent relevant experience, fully understand the law, tactics, disclosure and Police procedure. Ideally, they should be able to show you recent Crown Court and Court of Appeal examples of their work.
Above all, they will ensure you stay on the right side of the law, and that any evidence is lawful and useable. Remember, any evidence is likely to be useless and do more harm than good if it has been gathered illegally.”
Latest Issue of SAFARI 121, can be downloaded here, https://is.gd/4BCu0f