Fierce criticism has forced Home Secretary Michael Howard to withdraw a clause which allowed police to shred prosecution evidence in jury trials three years after conviction. The clause, which was part of the 1996 Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act's code of practice, was drawn up by Michael Howard in December without any parliamentary debate. It was opposed by senior lawyers, MPs, Cardinal Basil Hume and former home secretaries Lord Jenkins and Lord Rees. Last week, following the freeing of the Bridgewater Three, Howard conceded to pressure for the clause to be dropped. Police will now have to retain all case papers in jury trials for the length of any sentence following a conviction, or for a minimum of six months if there is a non-custodial sentence.