§ Earl Russell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will list, and give references for, recent cases in which public interest immunity has been claimed for category B documents in criminal trials and what were the outcome of these claims.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
No comprehensive central record is held by government of cases in which public interest immunity is claimed. On the basis of information at present available, class claims for material including communications between officials, between Ministers and between Ministers and officials on matters of policy, currently referred to as "advice to ministers" class claims, are known to have been made in the following criminal cases (apart from the Matrix Churchill case):
R v Saunders and others (1989).
The Court of Appeal later (1995) held the PII claim was properly made.
R v Natwest Investment Bank Ltd. and others (1991).
The application for disclosure was not pursued so the PII claim was not ruled upon.
R v Cunningham and Morris (1992).
The judge held that the documents fell within a PII class and ordered some to be disclosed.
R v Marks (1992).
The judge held that the documents fell within the PII class and ordered disclosure of most.
R v Smith (1993).
The judge upheld the PII claim and ruled against disclosure.
R v Barrett and Thompson (1993).
The judge upheld the PII claim and ruled against disclosure.6WA
R v Mitchell and Mitchell (1993).
The defence conceded that the documents fell within a PII class. The judge ordered disclosure.
In addition, PII class claims have been made in a number of criminal cases with respect to regulatory and investigatory material.