Regina v Cochrane: CACD 4 Jun 1992

A building society had credited the defendant with more than was due by error. A series of withdrawals were made before the error was discovered. The defendant appealed saying the judge had been wrong to have admitted computer print outs.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The prosecution said that the entry of the pin number amounted to no more than an exercise in typing and that supporting evidence was not required. However the pin number was checked against a number held on the bank’s central computer. Before the judge can decide whether computer printouts are admissible, whether as real evidence or as hearsay, it was necessary to call appropriate authoritative evidence to describe the function and operation of the computer. Though some of the till rolls might be admitted as real evidence, the balance could not. The police had broken so many elements of the Code of Practice that the defendant could not be expected to have confidence in the fairness of the proceedings.


McCowan LJ, Waterhouse and Broke JJ


[1993] Criminal Law Reports 48


Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 69


England and Wales

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.224083