Director of public prosecutions vows to examine team's behaviour during trial of officers that collapsed last month
Independent inspectors are to consider the way prosecutors handled the biggest trial of police officers in British criminal history following its collapse last month.
Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, has asked the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate to look at the trial of eight former police officers who were cleared of fabricating evidence.
The collapse of the case against the officers, who were alleged to have conspired to frame the "Cardiff Three" ? the trio wrongly jailed for the murder of Lynette White in 1990 ? has led to doubts about the ability of prosecutors to cope with complicated, historic cases.
Starmer said on Thursday: "Shortly after the collapse of this trial, I initiated a full and detailed review of the circumstances in which the decision to offer no further evidence was made. I asked leading counsel for the prosecution to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for the decision.
"I have now considered that analysis and as part of the review have decided to ask Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, an independent statutory body, to consider the way in which the prosecution team conducted the disclosure exercise in this case."
The trial collapsed because of concerns that certain evidence not used in the prosecution's case had not been disclosed to the defence as it ought to have been.
The inspectorate will examine:
? Whether the prosecution team (CPS and counsel) approached, prepared and managed disclosure in this case effectively, bearing in mind the history, size and complexity of the investigation and prosecution.
? Whether the prosecution team complied with their disclosure duties properly, including all relevant guidance and policy relating to disclosure, in light of the extensive material generated in this case.
? Whether the existing legal guidance is appropriate for cases of similar size and complexity.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is examining South Wales police's actions in the case.
It revealed on Thursday night that documents the trial was told may have been shredded had been found intact. When the case collapsed Swansea crown court heard that documents possibly of benefit to the defendants may have been destroyed on the orders of the senior investigating officer, Chris Coutts.
The commission added: "The IPCC investigation has not yet concluded and will also need to establish what happened to these documents. The IPCC will of course publish its findings in due course."