When is disclosing information about prosecution witnesses’ previous convictions justified, asks David Rhodes

Who decides? In the long and troubled history of disclosure in criminal proceedings, that is one of the most important questions. For if it is left to the prosecution alone to decide what information undermines their case, there exists human frailty and human error and the possibility of an inequality of arms.

In the case of HM Advocate v Murtagh [2009] UKPC 35, the Privy Council has given prosecutors licence to withhold information about the previous convictions of prosecution witnesses which they deem to be immaterial.

In Scotland, as in England and Wales, any information held by the prosecution must be disclosed to the defence where it tends to materially undermine the case for the prosecution or assist the case ...

Jean Yves

IICJ

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