Letter: Danger reforms now under way

Click to follow
Sir: Andreas Whittam Smith ("Many hands have been tilting the balance of justice", 25 February) referred to two "reforms under way that beggar belief". I entirely agree.

The article goes on: "Parliament will be asked to approve rules which limit the access to unused material by defence counsel in criminal cases unless it can be shown to be `relevant'." As an experienced criminal practitioner, I can tell you that this will substantially increase the likelihood of further miscarriages of justice and substantially reduce the possibility of their ever being discovered and remedied.

The position is, though, far worse than Parliament being "asked to approve these rules". The Crown Prosecution Service, police and magistrates' courts staff have all been notified that these rules are coming into effect on 1 April, and for the last three months all these bodies have been receiving training in relation to their implementation.

This disastrous situation is aggravated by the fact that important opinion- makers appear to be unaware of the risks.