HC Deb 07 March 1957 vol 566 cc514-5
15. Mr. Collins

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, to enable a jury to be able to judge whether or not there has been any unfairness to the accused arising from the selection of persons taking part in the parade, he will give instructions to the Metropolitan Police that a photograph of the parade shall be taken whenever an identity parade is held.

Mr. Simon

The persons taking part in an identification parade are selected at random, but the existing instructions provide that the persons selected should be of similar age, height and general appearance to the person put up for identification. My right hon. Friend does not consider that there are any grounds for such an addition as that proposed to the existing arrangements, which already provide express safeguards for the interests of suspected persons.

Mr. Collins

Would not my hon. and learned Friend agree that it would be an advantage, at least to innocent persons, to allow juries to judge whether persons selected at random were a fair sample? Is he aware that this proposal is supported by many members of the Criminal Bar? If he is not prepared to accept this suggestion, will he say what are the suggestions of his Department for avoiding the ever-recurring cases of wrongful conviction of innocent persons, who are subsequently unable to get any compensation from his Department?

Mr. Simon

A suspected person's attention must, under the Regulations, be drawn to his right to have his legal representative or a friend present, and to his right to object to the inclusion of any other members of the parade or to any of the arrangements. If he feels that the parade is unrepresentative or unfair he can object, and his attention is drawn to that right. I cannot accept the suggestion that any of the mistaken identifications which may have occurred on very rare occasions and have resulted in an incorrect conviction are due to any fault in the identification parades.