Defendants Rights To Disclosure Of Material That May Undermine The Prosecution Case
Solicitor: Miss Guney
Counsel: Ms Bahra QC
Counsel: Ms Nichola Higgins
Ms Guney representing Mr Potter in a £3m diamond fraud trial which has collapsed after the Crown Prosecution Service admitted it failed to in its duty to disclose evidence.
Mr Potter was accused with 5 others of fraud. All 5 were acquitted after the CPS did not disclose material which undermined the prosecution case and could have helped the defendants. The Potter defence team were the primary movers in achieving this result.
After four weeks of the trial at Southwark Crown Court, His Honour Judge Hiddleston directed the jury to find the defendants not guilty.
The prosecution case relied on expert evidence. The defence team representing Mr Potter had flagged up numerous inconsistencies and irregularities within the prosecution case. The integrity of the evidence was brought into question by barrister’s Ms Bahra QC and Ms Higgins. Mr Potter’s defence were determined to ascertain the veracity of the material presented to them during the currency of the case.
The Metropolitan Police instructed expert witnesses employed by a company which had a contract with the Metropolitan Police to auction jewellery and watches seized in raids and prosecutions. Those experts had already given evidence in another trial, in the middle of their contract with the Metropolitan Police where their relationship with the police were not disclosed.
Ms Guney instructed an independent expert, and it was because of those enquiries the CPS forced to offer no evidence against Mr Potter and the other defendant’s. The serious lack of transparency became so apparent, subsequently questioning the practices undertaken by the Metropolitan Police in respect of instructing experts.
In court, Ms Narita Bahra QC, called for the CPS to conduct an inquiry into the case after what she described as "a litany of disclosure failings". This was not the first instance where prosecution expert evidence was called into question by GSG Law [R v Sulley].
The prosecution admitted that material that could have helped Mr Potter and his co- defendants had not been properly disclosed to defence lawyers, in fact it was wrongly described, and the inconsistencies were profound.