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MacGuffin

Are There Any Good Law-Related Internet Forums In The Uk?

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Yes, but the good forums are in-house. Open legal forums are probably dominated by barrack-room lawyers, so best avoided. HPC itself has many threads with dubious legal advice on tenancy problems.

The UK's best blog on housing law is Nearly Legal - uber left wing and uses censorship, but the posters are experts. It has plenty of categorised links to other law blogs, so you might find what you're looking for there.

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Try the Consumer Action Group forums. What's the problem anyway?

I'm hoping to find some information around the rules for a defendant to introduce audio evidence (i.e. secretly taped conversation) into a criminal trial.

I am not the defendant in question, I should add!

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I'm hoping to find some information around the rules for a defendant to introduce audio evidence (i.e. secretly taped conversation) into a criminal trial.

I am not the defendant in question, I should add!

Well as long as one person (who is party to the conversation) knows they were recorded they're not disallowed I think BUT you will need to get them professionally transcribed as part of the court evidence.

And you will probably need to supply copies on audio CD for the court and other side.

And don't expect the court to have anything to play them on. Be prepared to take a player in.

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Well as long as one person (who is party to the conversation) knows they were recorded they're not disallowed I think BUT you will need to get them professionally transcribed as part of the court evidence.

And you will probably need to supply copies on audio CD for the court and other side.

And don't expect the court to have anything to play them on. Be prepared to take a player in.

I think there's a lot more to it than that. The defendant can't just waltz into court, play a recording, then say: 'See? That PROVES I'm innocent'.

I'm supporting the prosecution on this one, by the way!

I presume the defendant needs to provide not just a transcript in advance but also some evidence of it being genuine. If it originated as a digital file, which most recordings are these days, I presume the defendant needs to provide a copy of the digital file for the prosecution to examine and send to audio forensics, etc? The defendant is a trained sound engineer, so he has the expertise to creatively edit or even fabricate the recording entirely.

I guess one of my questions is: Does the to-ing and fro-ing regarding the genuineness of the recording happen during the trial, or would there be preliminary arguments beforehand about whether the recording would be allowed to be entered as evidence?

Any lawyers about?

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I'm hoping to find some information around the rules for a defendant to introduce audio evidence (i.e. secretly taped conversation) into a criminal trial.

I am not the defendant in question, I should add!

That's a tricky one.

The prosecution introducing such evidence would be governed by PACE 1984 and in particular RIPA which has provisions that safeguard the defendants right to respect their private life under article 8 ECHR as the conversation would have been recorded covertly. The rules of disclosure for both prosecution and defence are governed by the The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. I don't think that what you are proposing is covered in the Act.

It would very unusual for a covert recording to be used in a defence, and I have personally not come across it before. Evidentially there are huge problems with the integrity of any such evidence and the prosecution would strongly object to it's inclusion.

The best advice I can give you is to consult either a good criminal lawyer or barrister

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I think there's a lot more to it than that. The defendant can't just waltz into court, play a recording, then say: 'See? That PROVES I'm innocent'.

I'm supporting the prosecution on this one, by the way!

I presume the defendant needs to provide not just a transcript in advance but also some evidence of it being genuine. If it originated as a digital file, which most recordings are these days, I presume the defendant needs to provide a copy of the digital file for the prosecution to examine and send to audio forensics, etc? The defendant is a trained sound engineer, so he has the expertise to creatively edit or even fabricate the recording entirely.

I guess one of my questions is: Does the to-ing and fro-ing regarding the genuineness of the recording happen during the trial, or would there be preliminary arguments beforehand about whether the recording would be allowed to be entered as evidence?

Any lawyers about?

You would have to ask the judge for permission to bring the evidence.

The judge would have to weigh up the probability of it being real I guess and possibly the defence would want to get expert witnesses to say it's a fake.

You would need to consult a solicitor in person I suspect though - most do half an hour free.

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Okay we have had a chat about this scenario in the office (we are not lawyers, but we are law enforcement officers) After some debate we think that it would be allowed but would be up to a Judge to decide on hearing the arguments from both sides because of its covert nature.

We were of the opinion that if the context of the recording is pertinent to any defence, then it would be in the interests of justice that disclosure should be made prior to the hearing as it may have an impact on whether the prosecution would proceed with the criminal case.

I have also spoken to out in house Lawyer, and he was of the same opinion as we were.

So in summary could be admissible by the defence at any time, but as it was covertly recorded a Judge would untimely decide on whether to allow its submission.

Of course what SarahBell says about transcript, equipment would apply, so would the usual examination in chief by the prosecution of any defence submissions.

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Okay we have had a chat about this scenario in the office (we are not lawyers, but we are law enforcement officers) After some debate we think that it would be allowed but would be up to a Judge to decide on hearing the arguments from both sides because of its covert nature.

We were of the opinion that if the context of the recording is pertinent to any defence, then it would be in the interests of justice that disclosure should be made prior to the hearing as it may have an impact on whether the prosecution would proceed with the criminal case.

I have also spoken to out in house Lawyer, and he was of the same opinion as we were.

So in summary could be admissible by the defence at any time, but as it was covertly recorded a Judge would untimely decide on whether to allow its submission.

Of course what SarahBell says about transcript, equipment would apply, so would the usual examination in chief by the prosecution of any defence submissions.

Thanks My Miyagi - just a few more questions to clarify. When you talk about 'disclosure prior to the hearing', would the prosecution be able to insist upon being given the digital audio file for forensic examination i.e. to examine digital timestamps to determine when the recording was made, wavelength analysis to see if the recording has been edited to eliminate incriminating remarks or sounds etc? I mean, surely the court will not just accept the assertion by the defence that the recording has not been altered? The defendant is a highly trained sound engineer, as I mentioned, and would have the skills and access to the necessary equipment to be able to edit the recording to make himself look innocent.

FYI - The crime was an assault on the victim as retribution for reporting an earlier assault on the same victim. The recording was probably made by a friend of the defendant who was an onlooker. The assault was initially quite violent, with the defendant screaming abuse and threats, but the 'conversation' calmed down right toward the very end. I imagine it is the end of the conversation that will be on the recording submitted by the defendant, with the earlier sounds of violence conveniently missing. Another thing I would imagine will be missing is the calm admission by the defendant right at the end of the encounter that he had caused physical injury to the victim.

I have to stop myself from going into too much detail here (though I realise it is highly unlikely these posts will ever be seen by anyone connected with the case), though you have probably surmised by now that I was the victim.

I'd appreciate your view on what the prosecution could insist upon with regard to its prior examination of this recording. Surely they could insist upon some digital forensics on the audio file? Although I imagine that the original audio file will have gone ' missing' as well and what we'll get is a recording of an edited recording...

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You would have to ask the judge for permission to bring the evidence.

The judge would have to weigh up the probability of it being real I guess and possibly the defence would want to get expert witnesses to say it's a fake.

You would need to consult a solicitor in person I suspect though - most do half an hour free.

SarahBell, it's the defence that wants to introduce the recording as evidence, not the prosecution.

My question is: When and how does the judge weigh up the possibility of it being real? Surely this would take place before the trial, and surely the prosecution would need an opportunity to examine the digital file and have an expert take a view on it? It is this kind of thing I want to know. I would be very surprised if the defence were allowed to just bring a tape in and play it for the jury.

Any insight into the to-ing and fro-ing that surely takes place before such a contentious piece of evidence could be played for a jury?

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Thanks My Miyagi - just a few more questions to clarify. When you talk about 'disclosure prior to the hearing', would the prosecution be able to insist upon being given the digital audio file for forensic examination i.e. to examine digital timestamps to determine when the recording was made, wavelength analysis to see if the recording has been edited to eliminate incriminating remarks or sounds etc? I mean, surely the court will not just accept the assertion by the defence that the recording has not been altered? The defendant is a highly trained sound engineer, as I mentioned, and would have the skills and access to the necessary equipment to be able to edit the recording to make himself look innocent.

FYI - The crime was an assault on the victim as retribution for reporting an earlier assault on the same victim. The recording was probably made by a friend of the defendant who was an onlooker. The assault was initially quite violent, with the defendant screaming abuse and threats, but the 'conversation' calmed down right toward the very end. I imagine it is the end of the conversation that will be on the recording submitted by the defendant, with the earlier sounds of violence conveniently missing. Another thing I would imagine will be missing is the calm admission by the defendant right at the end of the encounter that he had caused physical injury to the victim.

I have to stop myself from going into too much detail here (though I realise it is highly unlikely these posts will ever be seen by anyone connected with the case), though you have probably surmised by now that I was the victim.

I'd appreciate your view on what the prosecution could insist upon with regard to its prior examination of this recording. Surely they could insist upon some digital forensics on the audio file? Although I imagine that the original audio file will have gone ' missing' as well and what we'll get is a recording of an edited recording...

I can't give you an answer on what would be potential legal arguments made by the prosecution in relation to the authenticity and continuity of the recording, but from what you have said there does seem to be a potential for the witness to be actively engaged in potential perversion of justice.

The prosecution, would in my opinion be rightly concerned. If the recording was permitted it would be the job of prosecution council to make arguments to the jury about it's authenticity. This could of course could be a forensic examination by a 'expert witness' or from statements, accounts etc.

The evidence would only be allowed to be heard in Court by the person making the recording unless a hearsay application was made (I won't go into that!), he would be under oath!

I would also suggest that as you were the victim of the crime you would in this instance need to give evidence, so it may be a case of who the jury believe.

Have a talk with the CPS lawyer in the case and see what they say, it does sound like this recording may be a key part of the defence

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You would need to consult a solicitor in person I suspect though - most do half an hour free.

We needed to get some advice from a solicitor recently so thought we'd meet one or two to select one that we thought would be most suitable for us. No local solicitors give a free introductory meeting locally. They all charge from the outset now. Best we could get was the first half hour for £75.

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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