HL Deb 10 April 2002 vol 633 cc94-5WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that the police and the Crown Prosecution Service acted properly and promptly as regards releasing to his solicitor unused material from the prosecution of Mr Anthony Gerald Dickinson, now serving a long sentence in HM Prison Wakefield. [HL3466]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith)

Mr Anthony Gerald Dickinson was unanimously convicted by a jury at Leeds Crown Court in June 1991 on two counts of murder. He received a sentence of life imprisonment.

It is now some considerable time since the case was originally heard and many of the key participants in the original investigation and prosecution have retired or left their respective organisations rendering specific detailed inquiry as to detailed case handling issues impracticable.

So far as can be ascertained, the solicitors representing Mr Dickinson at that time were provided with full disclosure, prior to the trial, of all relevant material arising in the case to enable the proper conduct of the defence on Mr Dickinson's behalf.

Following Mr Dickinson's conviction, his application for leave to appeal against that conviction was considered and rejected by the Court of Appeal.

The Home Office was also asked to consider the case and it commissioned two further police investigations into the background of the case.

In addition to this, the case has been considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission and has been the subject of proceedings before the High Court.

These procedures have not resulted in the case being referred back to the Court of Appeal for its further consideration as to whether the conviction was unsafe.

From the information available it can be ascertained that the Crown Prosecution Service and the police have, throughout each of these reviews, co-operated fully with the appropriate authority considering the case when they have been requested to do so, and it appears that the Crown Prosecution Service has ensured that the relevant material has been available to allow a comprehensive review of the evidence to take place.

There is no information on the Crown Prosecution Service's files to suggest that it or the police have done otherwise than to act properly and promptly in the release to Mr Dickinson's solicitor of unused or any other material where it has been appropriate to do so.

Throughout this case the conduct of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service has been the subject of regular and intense scrutiny at each stage of the review process.