Law Commission issues paper on criminal appeals

Closes 30 Nov 2023

Chapter 8: Retention and disclosure of evidence and records of proceedings

Question 16: Is the law governing post-trial retention and disclosure of evidence, whether used at trial or not, satisfactory?

The law requires the police to retain material gathered during an investigation for at least six months after a person has been convicted, and if a custodial sentence is imposed, until the person is released. Statutory duties of disclosure on police and prosecutors do not apply once a person has been convicted. There are common law duties upon police and prosecutors to disclose material for the purposes of an appeal and where they come into material which might afford grounds for challenging a conviction.

Question 17: Is the law governing retention of, and access to, records of proceedings following a trial satisfactory?

Court records for trials on indictment are kept for seven years, and for serious offences, should be kept indefinitely. Audio recordings of Crown Court proceedings are routinely destroyed after five or seven years, depending on whether the recording is analogue or digital.