1.1 Tom Sargant and JUSTICE are synonymous. He was the

founding secretary from 1955 until he retired in 1982, late

in his 70s. One of the most remarkable features of his

life is that he only began to work for JUSTICE after his

50th birthday. Until then he had had a very varied and

interesting life, but little to do with the law. From the

time that he became the founding secretary, JUSTICE became

his life' s work. Above all, he is remembered for his

integrity and tenacity in the field of miscarriages of

justice. He took up cases where the lawyers and the judges

all agreed that there was no reason to doubt the

correctness of the conviction. He seldom accepted a "no"

from any of the authorities, pressing on in the face of

what appeared to be overwhelming odds. When everyone else

had given up, Tom Sargant persevered. For him there was no

such thing as a hopeless case. Many of these cases in due

course became known as miscarriages of justice. For 25

years, save for his personal modesty, he could fairly have

claimed to be the only permanent office which was the court

of last resort.

1.2 Tom Sargant played a crucial part in establishing JUSTICE’S

renowned casework role. JUSTICE'S constitution has as one

of its principal aims "... to assist in the maintenance of

the highest Standards of administration of justice and in

the preservation of the fundamental liberties of the

individual." No one upheld those aims better than Tom

Sargant. He took on cases even when an important point of

principle was not involved. As he said, "It seemed

senseless to try to formulate reforms without identifying

the causes of wrong convictions." No one can disagree with

that proposition.

1.3 Tom Sargant inspired others to follow his lead. It is

appropriate this year to remember the work of Sir David

Napley. Amongst the many spheres in which David influenced

the criminal justice system, this evening I want to

highlight just one. He was instrumental in setting up this

lecture series, and I would like to pay tribute, not only

to Tom Sargant and his life and work, but also to Sir David

Napley for his contribution to the criminal justice debate.

1.4 JUSTICE has contributed in so many ways to the criminal

justice system, although perhaps it is best known for

pursuing individual cases those cases which, for one

reason or another, have failed to be dealt with properly by

the criminal justice system. But JUSTICE is not merely

concerned with pursuing individual cases. It has published

a long list of influential documents. These have often

changed the way in which the criminal justice system

operates. You will forgive me if I select from all their

publications two in particular. The first is their report,

as long ago as 1970 - "The Prosecution Process in England

and Wales" . This recommended the creation of an

independent prosecution department. It took a Royal

Commission, the Philips Commission which sat from 1978 to

1981 and the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, to create

that independent prosecution department the Crown

Prosecution Service. It is not without interest that it

took 16 years from the time when JUSTICE first made this

recommendation until it was implemented. Their recent

report published in September 1994 called "Remedying

Miscarriages of Justice" makes recommendations for the

detailed operation of a new body - JUSTICE referred to it

as a Criminal Cases Review Authority. Once more, JUSTICE

has been making these sort of recommendations for

approximately 30 years.

1.5 If it seems from this summary that JUSTICE has always been

making recommendations which take a long time to come into

effect, it is probably because so much development has been

needed in the criminal justice system. It is a dynamic

process which constantly calls for updating and change.

There have been no fewer than nine important Acts, ranging

from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 through to

the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in the last

10 years. Why have all these changes been necessary? They

have all been intended to try to improve the system

creating the proper balance between the rights of the

individual and the responsibilities of the State.

1.6 For my part, as Head of the Crown Prosecution Service and

Director of Public Prosecutions, I, together with all

members of the Service, am committed to the same goal

getting the system right. And getting the system right

impacts upon the role of JUSTICE. We want to see the

miscarriage casework role of JUSTICE diminish. This can

only be done by getting each step in the system carried out

properly, effectively and thoroughly. Then and only then

can we be certain that we have reduced the number of

miscarriages of justice.


2.1 There can be no doubt that the criminal justice system is

under pressure. Lord Runciman's Royal Commission made no

fewer than 352 recommendations for change. There have been

a number of cases in the Court of Appeal recently where

convictions have been overturned, and the judges have apologised to the respondents for these miscarriages of justice.

2.2 Miscarriages of justice have so many devastating

consequences. The obvious one is that an innocent person

has been convicted. The converse of that is that a guilty

person has gone free. Justice has been denied to everyone

involved in the case:- the victim is left unfulfilled;

there has been social and economic dislocation for the

family of the convicted defendant; and there are often

questions over the integrity of the police and other

witnesses who have given evidence. The final and most deep

seated problem is that public confidence in the system is


2.3 Not surprisingly, the system is under fire from academics,

members of the legal profession, the media and the public.

There is pressure in both directions:- on the one hand,

there is the need to convict the guilty; on the other hand,

it is essential that the innocent are not charged, or if

charged are acquitted. None of us can, however, ignore the

discipline of public funds. The Royal Commission on

Criminal Justice's terms of reference included the phrase,

"having regard to the efficient use of resources". We,

therefore, have to find a balance because justice is denied

to everyone if that balance is wrong. The balance which

the criminal justice system is designed to achieve is the

twin aims of conviction in the right case, and acquittal in

the right case.

2.4 Protecting the innocent is in practice a combination of

three objectives:-

i that a person should not be tried for a crime they did

not commit;

ii if tried, there should not be a conviction and,

iii if convicted, any such conviction should be quashed on



3.1 The primary aim must be that people who are innocent should

not be tried. There have to be safeguards built in to the

process to try to ensure that no innocent person is charged

and brought before the court, There is no magic formula,

but there are three stages at which safeguards have been

built into the criminal justice system to prevent an

innocent person being tried. The first is - the

investigation process; the second is the legal filter,

carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service; and the third

is the procedural safeguards within the criminal justice

system. Let me deal first with the investigation process.


Investigation Process

3.2 This is an area where it is essential that the balance is

right. Investigation may interfere with individual

liberty. On the other hand, it is essential to discover if

the person being investigated is responsible for committing

the crime. While the crime is being investigated, the

suspect needs to have proper safeguards at all stages. In

1984, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act was passed to

codify the vast majority of police powers. The Act came

into force in stages during 1985 and 1986, so we have now

had over eight years of experience of it. It sets out a

clear regime for the treatment of people who are arrested

and detained by the police, together with Codes of Practice

which set out the rights of individuals, and the duties of

police officers.

3.3 There is little point in having a clear regime with Codes

of Practice unless suspects are aware of them. Codes have

to be available for suspects at the police stations to see.

Similarly, there is no point in having a Code, if breaches

of the Code do not have important consequences. Breaches

of the Codes are disciplinary offences and may lead to

evidence being excluded at the trial. It is essential that

on the one hand, there is legislation in place which

permits the police to fight crime effectively, but the

converse is that it is equally essential that individual

officers apply the Codes.

3.4 The length of detention of a suspect is a matter of great

importance to that individual's civil liberty. The Police

and Criminal Evidence Act, therefore, gave statutory limits

to the length of detention. This is valuable in preventing

oppressive questioning. Moreover, if oppression is used in

questioning, any admission obtained as a result must be

excluded . There are specific provisions to deal with

vulnerable suspects, such as the young, the mentally

disordered, or the handicapped. A new role, the custody

officer, separate from and independent of the investigating

officers, was also introduced to help to safeguard' the

rights which the Act conferred on the individual.

3.5 The Police and Criminal Evidence Act not only dealt with

the safeguards for the individual, but set out the powers

of police officers to obtain evidence to arrest and

search, to question and detain. Is that balance right? Do

the police require more powers? Are the rights of the

suspect being trampled on? Much of the evidence given to

the Royal Commission dealt with the balance between the

rights of the individual suspect, and the powers of the

police. The Commission's conclusion was that on the whole

the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and its Codes of

Practice are generally being complied with and that the

overall objectives have acquired general acceptance.




3.6 Modern technology also has an important role in providing

safeguards during the investigation. The criminal justice

system should not lag substantially behind scientific

developments. Where would we be without the use of

fingerprinting and blood grouping? DNA has been the most

recent and dramatic development in this field. It is an

important diagnostic tool for helping ascertain the truth.

It is both a safeguard for excluding suspects, and a weapon

for including, to a very fine tolerance, those who may have

committed · the offence. DNA samples can be built into a

databank which will prove an invaluable investigative tool

for the police. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act

enables the police to make further use of this new science

whilst protecting the rights of the suspect. No suspect

can be forced to give an intimate sample although, if the

suspect consents, the police can take intimate samples, not

merely in cases of serious arrestable offences, but also in

the much wider range of recordable offences. The Act

permits samples to be checked against other recorded

samples without the consent of the donor. But if a person

is acquitted or not prosecuted, although the samples are

kept, they cannot be used in evidence in any criminal

proceedings. Thus the Act seeks to strike in this new and

important field the essential balance which should help to

prevent miscarriages of justice.

The Crown Prosecution Service

3.7 Let me now turn to the role of the Crown Prosecution

Service. We are a vital filter in the process to try to

ensure that, if a person is wrongly charged, the case does

not proceed beyond us to court. We are frequently thought

of as "the prosecutors". This ignores our first and

primary function which is to review every single criminal

case which is sent to us. We also advise the police when

they ask for legal advice on matters which relate to

criminal offences.

3.8 In carrying out our review function, we are guided by the

Code for Crown Prosecutors, which is a public declaration

of the principles upon which the Crown Prosecution Service

exercises its functions. The Code, which was reissued in

June 1994, promotes efficient and consistent decision-

making throughout the Service. Each case is, of course,

considered individually against the Code test. They are

two main Code tests, the first is the evidential test, and

that is always considered first, It does not matter how

important or serious the case may be, if it cannot pass the

first evidential test, it will not be prosecuted.

The Evidential Test

3.9 We have to be satisfied on the material supplied to us that

there is enough evidence to provide 'a realistic prospect

of conviction'. This means in practical terms that: "A

jury or bench of magistrates, properly directed in

accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict

the defendant of the charge alleged." This is an objective

test. It does not take account of perceived local views of

the bench or juries . If such views were allowed to

influence the decision to prosecute, the goal of nationally

consistent decision-making would be lost.

3.10 We do not simply accept pieces of evidence at their face

value, but consider their likely admissibility and

reliability. Doubt over the admissibility or reliability

of a piece of evidence, however, does not lead the

prosecutor automatically to reject it. Where there pas

been, for example, a breach of a PACE Code of Practice, and

case law already indicates that the courts are likely to

reject evidence obtained in consequence of such a breach,

prosecutors should disregard that piece of evidence. But

often, admissibility will not be clear cut. In many cases,

it may be right to go before the court with that evidence

and seek a ruling about its admissibility or reliability.

3.11 In some cases, however, we find that vital evidence is

missing. When this happens we will go back to the police

to see if they can supply it. If they cannot, and the case

does not pass the evidential test without it, we will stop

the case.

The Public Interest Test

3.12 The second test is the public interest test. In 1951 Lord

Shawcross, as Attorney General, made the classic statement

on public interest; "It has never been the rule in this

country - I hope it never will be - that suspected criminal

offences must automatically be the subject of prosecution"

3.13 In cases of any seriousness, a prosecution will usually

take place unless the public interest factors tending

against prosecution clearly outweigh those tending in


3.14 The more serious the offence, the more likely it is that a

prosecution will be needed in the public interest. ' A

prosecution is more likely to be needed if the offence:

involved violence or a weapon; or

is likely to be repeated; or

was clearly motivated by some form of discrimination

against the victim; or

was committed against a person serving the public.

If the victim was vulnerable, suffered personal attack or

was significantly affected by the offence then that too is

a strong public interest factor in favour of prosecution.

3.15 By the same token, the Code identifies a number of public

interest factors against prosecution, including:

if the defendant is very young, very old or suffering

from significant mental or physical ill health;

the 'staleness' of the offence;

if the defendant has put right the loss or harm that

was caused; and

if the offence was committed as a result of a genuine

mistake or misunderstanding.

3.16 Deciding on the public interest is not simply a matter of

adding up the number of factors for and against

prosecution. It is quite possible that one single factor

may outweigh all the factors tending in the opposite

direction. Crown Prosecutors have to make an overall

assessment of the combined weight of all the factors in

each case.

3.17 This brief outline of the CPS's tests shows how testing it

can sometimes be to reach the right decision. It

demonstrates how vital it is to the proper functioning of

the criminal justice system that we carry out effective

review, otherwise weak cases will proceed to court,

resulting ultimately in termination of the case or

acquittal . This is an inappropriate way in which to

present prosecutions to the court, We are therefore an

essential and important filter in preventing miscarriages

of justice. Although we do our best, this is essentially

a discretionary area and cases can often change as the

weeks progress. Our duty, therefore, is to keep all cases

under continual review. This proceeds throughout the

history of a case, whether it be dealt with in the

magistrates' courts or the Crown Court. It is also an

important safeguard to ensure that cases are not tried when

there has been a significant change during the history of

the case which fatally weakens it. Changes may occur

because witnesses disappear, or alter their evidence, or

because the defendant has important material to put before

us, which revises the strength of the case.


Safeguards in the System

3.18 For more serious cases, committal proceedings are an extra

safeguard in preventing the innocent being brought to

trial. However, the introduction of "independent review"

by the Crown Prosecution Service has made committal

proceedings a less crucial safeguard. In 1993/94, the

Crown Prosecution Service discontinued nearly 73,000 cases

because there was insufficient evidence to provide a

realistic prospect of conviction; by comparison less than

1,800 committals were discharged.

3.19 The Runciman Royal Commission recommended that committal

hearings be abolished, and the Criminal Justice and Public

Order Act has provided for their replacement with a

transfer procedure.

3.20 The transfer procedure still provides a safeguard. The

defence will be able to apply for dismissal if they feel

there is insufficient evidence to put the accused on trial.

The magistrates will consider written argument from both

sides, and may in complex cases permit oral representations

to be made. Any defendant who does not have legal

representation will have the right to make oral

representations for dismissal. If the court decides there

is no case to answer, it will dismiss the charges.

3.21 The most significant change is that witnesses can no longer

be called at this stage in the proceedings. This means

that they will be spared the ordeal of giving their

evidence twice. It also means that defendants may no

longer seek so-called "old-style" committal proceedings

simply to see if the key witnesses will actually turn up-to

give evidence.

3.22 The introduction of transfers will make the trial process

more efficient, A speedier trial process is generally


accepted as improving the quality and accuracy of justice.

In this way, the criminal justice system maintains a

healthier balance than perhaps it did before between the

interests of victims and witnesses and the need for

safeguards for the defendant.


4.1 Despite the best endeavours of the police, the Crown

Prosecution Service and the system to weed out weak cases,

some of the people brought before the court as defendants

are found not guilty. The filter which we apply is the

test that a defendant is more likely than not to be

convicted. It is not our role to determine guilt. That is

for the magistrates and the judges and juries to decide

beyond reasonable doubt. This is a higher and more

demanding test, applied having heard all the evidence

both prosecution and defence. For this reason, it is

inevitable that some defendants will be acquitted.

4.2 Judges have a clear, distinct and essential role to ensure,

as best can be achieved, that the innocent are not

convicted. There are three areas in which they can and

should act as watchdogs to make sure that injustice does

not occur. In these areas, their control over the conduct

of the trial is crucial to ensuring that the innocent are

not convicted. The judges' primary function is to

determine the admissibility of evidence. Secondly, they

are there to ensure fairness to everyone. And thirdly, if

they conclude that a case is not sufficiently strong at the

end of the prosecution's case to leave to a jury, it is

their responsibility to stop the case at that stage.

The Admissibility of Evidence

4.3 The Crown Prosecution Service has the role of "gatekeeper"

to the courts, weeding out weak cases so that they do not

even reach .the courts . However, it is not the Crown


Prosecution Service role to be both judge and jury. We

submit all cases to the rigorous tests which I have already

described, but inevitably some cases take a different turn

during the trial. Although we look for breaches of PACE,

these are not normally readily visible. Often it is only

when the defence start to cross-examine, that they tend to

emerge. It is most important that courts have the

flexibility to react to the different ways in which

evidence can emerge. They are there to interpret the

general principles in PACE, and to ensure that those

principles and the Codes have been followed. Judges are

increasingly being called upon to make decisions regarding

admissibility , and rightly so. It is one of the most

important functions which judges exercise. Their judgements

are an essential guide on admissibility and an equally

essential safeguard for the rights of individuals who are

being prosecuted.

4.4 Because judges have this important role, it is equally

vital that they exercise it in a judicial and judicious

way. They may well seek to explain why they have ruled

certain evidence to be inadmissible in a trial. It is a

great help to the police and the legal profession to be

given measured and logical rulings. Criminal cases can be

emotional and emotive and for that reason, we welcome well

thought out and careful judgements about admissibility. The

boundaries of admissible evidence are often being explored

by the prosecution and the defence. There is no method of

approaching the Court of Appeal directly to -see if new

types of evidence will be approved by them. Everything has

to be done through the medium of a trial. Perhaps one day

we might see legal rulings being sought in their own right,

without subjecting the defendant to the trial process

simply to establish the precise parameters of an offence or


4.5 It is essential that a trial should be conducted fairly.

It is one part, but an essential part, of the judge' s


function to ensure fairness to everyone. Section 78 of the

Police and Criminal Evidence Act has implications for all

criminal trials. Evidence should not be "admitted" which

would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the

proceedings that the court ought not to admit it. This is

a very broad provision which gives judges an overall

control of the trial which is to be welcomed.

4.6 But, fairness is due to everyone in a trial. As Benjamin

Cardozo said: "Justice is due not only to the accused, but

also the accuser". Regrettably, from time to time counsel

overstep the mark of courteous firm cross-examination.

There are many witnesses who are extremely vulnerable. For

them it is particularly intimidating to be in court and

painful to recall the experience into which the court is

inquiring. Children in particular have real difficulties

with court procedure. We have done the best we can with

the use of television links and pre-recorded videos to try

to minimise this stress. Judges have a very important role

in ensuring that vulnerable victims are not overwhelmed by

the system, or the people who operate within that system.

I am not suggesting special treatment, but merely

recognition that many witnesses have undergone an extremely

traumatic experience, and that the formality and rigidity

of the court system is intimidating and frightening. All

witnesses need to be treated as sympathetically as possible,

because it is upon their evidence, and their credibility

that the case is likely to be determined. We should not

permit a system where decisions about guilt or innocence

are based not on the truth of the allegations being made

but on the witnesses' fortitude when giving the evidence.


4.7 The ultimate safeguard, which judges alone can exercise, is

to direct an acquittal. There is no doubt that cases can

change their appearance markedly at court. Sometimes, the

cases get stronger but, particularly with the delays in the

trials at Crown Court, there is always a real problem that


witnesses can no longer be traced. In addition, witnesses

in giving evidence may change their story in an important

respect. It is for judges to determine whether at the end

of the prosecution's case, there is a sufficient case for

the jury to consider. This power is a crucial power, so

that the defendant who is being tried does not run the risk

of being wrongly convicted.


5.1 Despite all the efforts to eliminate unsafe convictions,

there can be no doubt that some people are convicted who

should not be convicted. All trial systems are fallible

for a number reasons. Witnesses may change their evidence;

new material can come to light after the trial; there may

be errors during the course of the trial; and even

occasionally, perverse verdicts. I am, myself, a great

supporter of the jury system, and in my view, the verdicts

which almost all juries return are honestly and carefully

considered and represent a fair decision. There are,

however, for the reasons I have just mentioned, some cases

where a defendant has been convicted who should not have

been convicted.

5.2 It follows from this that there has to be an appellate

system which will safeguard the trial structure. The

system should also give guidance about the interpretation

of legislation and case law, so there is consistency in

their application, It is essential that any system which

is necessarily discretionary, and therefore fallible, can

rectify errors quickly and effectively. The appellate

court provides safeguards for the individual who is wrongly

convicted. Although I have been dealing with the question

of wrongful convictions extensively, it is perhaps

opportune to remind ourselves that, in 1993, of the just

over 11,000 cases contested in the Crown Court where

convictions resulted, the percentage of appeals involving

an appeal against conviction was only just over 8,0% and of




successful appeals just over 3.0%. This gives an

indication of the comparative rarity of a person contesting

his conviction. It also gives us reassurance that in the

vast majority of cases the right result has been achieved.



6.1 It is not possible in the course this speech to deal with

all the current problems in the criminal justice system,

but there is one issue which concerns everyone who is

involved with trials. This is the issue of disclosure.

6.2 Over the last few years, the law of disclosure has extended

at a rapid and almost uncontrollable pace. No one for one

moment would dispute the necessity of disclosure to

safeguard the defendant's right to a fair trial.

Disclosure touches on all three issues which I am

discussing; that the innocent should not be tried, that if

tried they should not be convicted and an unsafe conviction

should be quashed on appeal. It also touches on whether

cases can or should be brought to trial. To protect an

innocent person being wrongfully accused, it is essential

that he or should have access to material which can cast

doubt on the prosecution case, or even go so far as to

establish innocence. At the same time, it is necessary

that the duties on the prosecution are clear, certain and

capable of being fulfilled. If the balance' is wrong,

meritorious prosecutions collapse under voluminous

paperwork, or relentless requests for material which may be

of no real value to the defence, In some extreme cases,

such requests lead to important criminal trials being

abandoned to protect an informant's personal safety. It is

essential that decisions to order disclosure, whether they

be of identity, sensitive material or enormous bulk

material, should be properly determined. At present, in

the majority of cases, there is no obligation upon the


defence to identify the issues in dispute at the trial.

Without this, it is difficult to make full, but material

and relevant disclosure.

6.3 The Crown Prosecution Service agrees with the Royal

Commission which, recognising the massive expansion in this

field entirely due to case law over the last few years,

came to the conclusion that the rights and obligations of

the prosecution and the defence need to be clearly defined

in legislation. To avoid miscarriages of justice, which

are caused by the acquittal of the guilty as well as by the

conviction of the innocent, I am certain that it is

necessary for such legislation, and I hope that it can be

brought forward in the not too distant future.


7.1 We all know that there have been cases, many of them now

household names, where years after the events a miscarriage

of justice has been discovered.

7.2 Again, as everyone knows, it was as a result of a

particular miscarriage of justice, the Birmingham Six case,

that the Royal Commission was set up. One of its important

recommendations was that a new independent body should be

set up to consider alleged miscarriages of justice, and to

supervise any necessary investigation. The Royal

Commission thought that the purpose of such a body should

be to consider allegations put to it, where the initial

appeal process had been completed. It further thought that

it should have the power to investigate cases where

necessary. It would then be able to refer them to the

Court of Appeal, where there were reasons for supposing

that miscarriages might have occurred. Where there were no

grounds for such a reference to the Court of Appeal, the

body should itself give the decision with reasons to the





7.3 Any reference to the Court of Appeal would be accompanied

by a statement of reasons, for the court to consider. The

body would supply the court with such supporting material

as it believed appropriate.

7.4 An applicant to the body would not be prevented from

reapplying where an earlier application had been turned


7.5 One of the major changes would be that the body would be

staffed by both lawyers and lay persons, supported by

administrators and Lawyers. They also would have access to

specialist advisors.

7.6 It is immediately apparent that the body is a revolutionary

suggestion. This would have appealed to Tom Sargant who

once wrote about justice "we must have a revolt in

Britain". The body would be outside the normal structure

of the appellate courts; its status would be akin to that

of the Police Complaints Authority. The Royal Commission

itself was reluctant to set specific criteria by which the

body should choose cases for investigation, but it

recognised that in practice the test would be that there

was some material in the case which would justify

consideration of a referral to the Court of Appeal.

7.7 A discussion paper has been published seeking the views

about the work of the new body. There will be many people

who have much to contribute to ensure that is effective.

As Lord Runciman, the Chairman of the Royal Commission

recently said in the House of Lords, "These are important

changes. It is important to consult. It is important to

get the details right." It is indeed important to get the

details right, and to ensure that when the body is set up,

it is effective and well regarded. JUSTICE has itself made

a major contribution to the proposals in its paper,

"Remedying Miscarriages of Justice"


7.8 On 16 November immediately after the Queen's speech, the

Government announced that a Bill will be introduced during

this parliamentary session to set up an independent review

body. The principles behind the new body have been widely

agreed, and I, along with many others, look forward to

seeing the details of the Bill. The Crown Prosecution

Service recognises the potential benefits to everyone of

the establishment of an independent review body, It will

further help to redress miscarriages of justice. We will

do all that we can to assist in the setting up of the new

body and to assist it in its work.


8.1 There is a Chinese curse May you live in interesting times!

There can be no doubt that we are living in interesting

times in the criminal justice system - some may call them

testing times. Is this a curse or is this a blessing?

There has been a period of dramatic change to the criminal

justice system, and I anticipate that there will be more in

the future. Change is both inevitable and healthy in a

system, but during the course of change, we must not lose

sight of the balance between the basic principles of

convicting the guilty and acquitting the innocent, or

preferably, not even trying them at all.

8.2 Provided that the changes do not lose sight of these

principles and keep them properly in balance, we are all

contributing to JUSTICE'S objective of: "Maintenance of the

highest standards of administration of justice and the

preservation of the fundamental liberties of the


8.3 I cannot improve on Martin Luther King's words which should

echo through everyone's legal system:

"An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".

8.4 The safeguards which I have spoken about tonight should


help to make sure that our system of justice produces the

right results. But there is always a need for vigilance.

The Crown Prosecution Service has a crucial role to play in

maintaining those safeguards. We have a goal which, I am

sure JUSTICE would endorse: "To eliminate miscarriages of



BARBARA HILLS QC 23 November 1994