chapter  25
18 Pages

Miscarriages of justice

WithStephen P. Savage, Becky Milne

Criminal investigation and miscarriages of justice are in many ways joined at the hip. From the fictional depiction of detectives ‘fitting up’ hapless suspects, to the widely publicized abuses committed by police investigators in notorious cases such as the ‘Birmingham Six’ (Mullin 1990), the association in the public mind between miscarriages of justice and police investigation remains strong. This association is even stronger in the academic criminal justice literature, where the investigative process has been identified in many ways as the ‘golden thread’ connecting a whole series of miscarriages of justice. Although the responsibility for miscarriages of justice ranges far and wide, from poor legal representation to questionable ‘expert evidence’ (Walker 1999), it would seem that police conduct in undertaking criminal investigations bears much of the blame for this particular form of system failure.