On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of the Guildford Four, (one of the notorious ‘Irish’ miscarriages of justice in England and Wales that led to the creation of the Criminal Cases Review Commission – see anniversary article here… ), controversy still surrounds the organisation. This week it was revealed that the body is ‘fast-tracking’ the case of professional footballer Ched Evans, released this week after serving half of a five year sentence for rape. Ched, who played for Sheffield United football club, has always maintained his innocence and has applied to the CCRC to investigate his case. The CCRC’s explanations for the decision to fast-track his case have been unconvincing (read more here…). This negative publicity comes at a critical time for the CCRC, as a Parliamentary inquiry into the operation and effectiveness of the miscarriages body is launched by the Justice Committee. The Committee is inviting submissions from interested parties, in order to answer the following four questions:
- Whether the CCRC has fulfilled the expectations and remit which accompanied it at its establishment following the 1993 report of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice
- Whether the CCRC has in general appropriate and sufficient (i) statutory powers and (ii) resources to carry out its functions effectively, both in terms of investigating cases and in the wider role of promoting confidence in the criminal justice system
- Whether the “real possibility” test for reference of a case to the Court of Appeal under section 13(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 is appropriate and has been applied appropriately by the CCRC
- Whether any changes to the role, work and remit of the CCRC are needed and, if so, what those changes should be.
The deadline for submissions is 5th December. You can read more here….