FSS closure will be ‘disastrous’, warns justice head

FSS closure will be ‘disastrous’, warns justice head

The closure of the Forensic Science Service will be disastrous for the Criminal Cases Review Commission, potentially leaving miscarriages of justice uncorrected, chair of the CCRC Richard Foster has said. In an interview with the Guardian, Foster warned that without the FSS public confidence in the criminal justice system will be damaged due to fragmentation of the market.

At present the commission has extensive powers to obtain material from public bodies but no powers over private organisations. But, Foster said, the growing use of private sector forensic service providers will mean the commission will have to negotiate with alternative providers to ensure continued access to material.

In the article, Forensics cut will be ‘disastrous' for victims of injustice,  he said: "Since 2005, we have used FSS material over 150 times. Without special arrangements, the impact its closure will have on our work will be nothing short of disastrous for those who may have been suffering a miscarriage of justice and for the wider criminal justice system.

"This will undoubtedly mean that cases which would otherwise have been referred back to the appeal courts will not be, and conversely cases which could be concluded quickly will take a great deal longer to conclude."

Also see: Criminal cases review commission: the last bastion of hope

  • 30 Mar 2011