Cuts are taking their toil throughout the justice system. At the Criminal Cases Review Commission they are biting particularly hard. Staff there, according to Graham Zellick, the retiring chairman, are angry and dispirited. The upshot will be “melancholic challenges” for his successor, “as damaging in practice as they are demoralising in prospect”. Zellick, who steps down next week, was responding to news of £300,000 budget cuts a year for the next three years.
For the small number of defence lawyers who specialise in criminal appeals and their clients this is bad news. “The whole reason the CCRC was set up was to investigate potential miscarriages of justice and any reduction in funding would mean that they would be in less of a position to investigate,” Jeremy Moore, of Carter Moore solicitors, who represented Barry George, says. His client was recently found not guilty of murdering Jill Dando, the TV presenter, outside her London home in 1999. “A case like Barry George needed a lot of resources putting into it and whether they would be able to do that in the future is a great concern,” he says.
Professor Zellick does little to hide his own frustration. “We are talking about relatively small sums of money,” he says. “If you compare our £8 million budget with the amount of money spent on the other side by the police and Crown Prosecution Service it is not even a crumb off the table.” … (more)
Source: Times On Line