Minor change to CrimPR
References to exhibits are going to get a bit easier to handle
The Forensic Science Regulator publishes a helpful newsletter (see https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fsr-newsletters). The latest issue draws attention to a recommendation for a minor, but helpful, change to the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrimPR). Currently Rule 16.3 of the CrimPR states:
Where the statement refers to a document or object as an exhibit–
a. the statement must contain such a description of that exhibit as to identify it clearly; and
b. the exhibit must be labelled or marked correspondingly, and the label or mark signed by the maker of the statement.
What has been uncertain in this is what is actually required. Some commissioners of services require each person referring to an exhibit to sign the exhibit label, others do not. The view of the Crown Prosecution Service is that the requirement to sign the label applies to the person who first ‘exhibits’ the item as opposed to every person who refers to it. It is also clear that in many cases a witness will refer to an exhibit that has never been in his or her possession and, consequently, cannot sign the label.
The CrimPR Committee has therefore recommended that the wording of Rule 16.3 be amended to read as follows.
16.3. Where the statement refers to a document or object as an exhibit, it must identify that document or object clearly.
This change is likely to take effect from October 2016.