Making a Murderer shows the ‘more transparent’ US justice system [Image: Synthesis Films].

Making a Murderer shows the ‘more transparent’ US justice system [Image: Synthesis Films].

Court transcripts are now kept digitally so there is no argument that Crown Court records take up too much space, therefore the argument in favour of retaining them to prevent miscarriages of justice is persuasive.

Will Michael Gove pay any attention at all? Doubtful.

He is, after all, Michael Gove.

Important court transcripts which could help prevent miscarriages of justice are being systematically destroyed under Government guidelines. The Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, has been urged to intervene to stop the “reckless and irresponsible” destruction of Crown Court records.

Leading justice campaigners including Michael Mansfield QC, and Paddy Hill, wrongly convicted of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, are calling for an urgent end to the disposal rules. They argue that the records, now stored digitally, should be available indefinitely.

Serious shortcomings in the UK system have been highlighted by the television documentary series Making a Murderer, about the conviction of Steven Avery in the US for a murder he says he didn’t commit. The series revealed that defence lawyers fighting to free him from prison were able to use extensive court records from a 2005 case.

“For all the serious issues Making a Murderer reveal about the US justice system, they highlight a criminal justice process that is far more accountable and transparent than our own,” the campaigners say.

Source: Michael Gove urged to stop ‘reckless and irresponsible’ destruction of Crown Court records

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