Police face action after 'soundproof' blunder

THE POLICE face new charges of incompetence after a Nottingham solicitor discovered he could overhear conversations from a witness waiting room.

The soundproofing blunder at Carlton Police Station prompted Brian McArdle, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East Midlands, to contact the local Law Society and ask all defence solicitors with concerns to get in touch with the relevant station.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also received from Nottingham Police Station a list of 18 cases last year that involved identification parades.

A source says only a handful of cases that reached court were likely to have been affected, since many of them were discontinued or the defendants pleaded guilty.

However, it is believed the CPS has been contacted about one case from 1997.

A Nottingham police spokeswoman says a series of building improvements are planned to rectify the problem, which was first reported in September.

The room was taken out of service.

She adds: “The actions we have taken will enable defendants and solicitors to examine individual cases and establish that theirs have not been prejudiced in anyway by this building defect.”

But Richard Nelson, senior partner at Nelsons in Nottingham, says: “There is always a fear that the identification process is a dangerous area.

“Worries in this area must always be brought to the attention of juries and the court. Anything undermining this must be taken very seriously.”