Alastair Logan, 4 November 1993
Recent events have cast into sharp relief the crisis in our criminal justice system. First there was the abandonment of the trial of three West Midland police officers on charges of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Then a woman was awarded £25,000 in damages after being subjected to verbal and physical abuse by police officers who had arrested her in flagrant abuse of their powers and given perjured evidence at her trial. Then the Home Secretary announced the abolition of the right to silence for detained persons held in police stations. Then a man who had been ‘verballed’ by West Midlands Police was awarded £70,000 in damages, after the fact that his interview notes had been forged was revealed by an EDSA test; he was the twentieth person to have had his conviction quashed in a case in which the investigating officers belonged to the Serious Crime Squad of that force. Most recently, the Home Secretary’s proposal to send more people to prison has been attacked by prison governors and half a dozen of the country’s senior judges.