Regina v Davis; Regina v Rowe; Regina v Johnson: CA 10 Mar 1993

Guidance was given on the procedures to be followed for applications for non-disclosure for public interest immunity. The court identified three types of case. In the first, and most frequent case the prosecution must notify the defence of the application, and indicate at least the category of material held and the broad ground of the PII claim. There is an inter partes hearing in open court with reference to at least the category of the material in question. In the second class of cases, the prosecution contend that the public interest would be injured if disclosure were made even of the category of the material. Here, the prosecution must still notify the defence that an application to the court is to be made, but the category of the material need not be specified: the defence will still have an opportunity to address the court on the procedure to be adopted but the application will be made to the court in the absence of the defendant or anyone representing him. If the court considers that the application falls within the first class, it will order that procedure to be followed. Otherwise it will rule. The third class, are ‘highly exceptional’ cases where the public interest would be injured even by disclosure that an ex parte application is to be made. Here application would be without notice to the defence. But if the court considers that the case should be treated as falling within the second or the first class, it will so order. A court should not seek an undertaking from a legal representative not to disclose to his client material which had been inadvertently and wrongly disclosed to him.

Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ: ‘Before Ward, the defence would have been totally unaware that, within the prosecution authority, the question of whether to disclose sensitive material or not was being resolved. The effect of Ward is to give the court the role of monitoring the views of the prosecution as to what material should or should not be disclosed and it is for the court to decide. Thus, the procedure described as unsatisfactory in Ward, of the prosecution being judge in their own cause, has been superseded by requiring the application to the court.’


Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ


Gazette 10-Mar-1993, [1993] 1 WLR 613, [1993] 97 Cr App R 110


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Keane CACD 15-Mar-1994
Public Interest Immunity Certificates for the protection of informants must be used only carefully. The Crown must specify the purpose of the public interest immunity certificate. The principles on disclosure in Ward are not limited to scientific . .
CitedRegina v Ward (Judith) CACD 15-Jul-1992
The defendant had been wrongly convicted of IRA bombings. She said that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence.
Held: The prosecution’s forensic scientists are under a common law duty to disclose to the defence anything they may . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v H; Regina v C HL 5-Feb-2004
Use of Special Counsel as Last Resort Only
The accused faced charges of conspiring to supply Class A drugs. The prosecution had sought public interest immunity certificates. Special counsel had been appointed by the court to represent the defendants’ interests at the applications.
CitedRegina v G and Another (PII: Counsel’s duty) CACD 27-May-2004
During the course of the trial, the prosecutor had inadvertently disclosed to the defence legal team material which had been subject to a public interest immunity certificate. The judge made an order under the 1987 Act that the defence team must not . .
CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board HL 7-Jul-2005
Balancing Rights of Prisoner and Society
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of three police officers in 1966. His tariff of thirty years had now long expired. He complained that material put before the Parole Board reviewing has case had not been disclosed to him.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v Mills, Regina v Poole HL 24-Jul-1997
The prosecution have a duty to disclose to the defence the statement of an adverse witness and not just to provide the name and address, even though that person was not seen as credible witness by the prosecution. ‘the rule in Bryant and Dickson is . .
CitedRegina v Davis (Iain); Regina v Ellis, Regina v Gregory, Regina v Simms, Regina v Martin CACD 19-May-2006
The several defendants complained at the use at their trials of evidence given anonymously. The perceived need for anonymity arose because, from intimidation, the witnesses would not be willing to give their evidence without it.
Held: The . .
See AlsoRegina v Davis, Rowe, Johnson CACD 17-Jul-2000
The court made a distinction between convictions found on appeal to be unfair, and those found to be unsafe. The prosecution had not disclosed to the defendants that the source of their information was a police informer. The European Court of Human . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Legal Professions

Updated: 05 May 2022; Ref: scu.86516