Chris Saltrese calls for greater police powers in rape investigations
- November 23, 2018
- Chris Saltrese
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Chris Saltrese is calling for greater police powers in rape investigations.
New Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Max Hill QC this week confirmed that examining the mobile phone of a rape complainant is necessary where relevant to a police investigation.
However, as the law stands, the police have no power to enforce this.
Responding to the DPP’s comments, Chris Saltrese, Managing Partner of Chris Saltrese Solicitors, said that truthful complainants have nothing to fear by handing over their mobile phone – and believes the police need greater powers to demand access.
“While we welcome the DPP affirming that examining a complainant’s mobile phone is necessary where relevant to a police investigation under the statutory code, the police have no power to enforce this.
“All too often the police allow complainants to provide selective text and social media messages themselves. Only when the defence force the issue do they ask to examine the devices and at that stage the complainant may refuse or the data has been deleted.
“Of course, only evidence relevant to the case can be used, but unless there is a will and a power for the police to demand independent access then the risk of widespread injustice remains.”
“The police and CPS need to spell this out to complainants – with legislation if necessary. Truthful complainants have nothing to fear. If their account is true, it can only support and not undermine the case.”
In a House of Commons debate this week, MP Ann Coffey called for juries to be scrapped in rape trials because of “shockingly low” charging and conviction rates.
Commenting on the proposals, Chris Saltrese said:
“Rape and other sexual offences should certainly not be treated differently from other serious criminal offences and so they should still be heard by juries who, as with non-sexual offences, should reach verdicts based on the consistency and cogency of the evidence.”