Regina v AXN; Regina v ZAR – WLR Daily

Regina v AXN; Regina v ZAR [2016] EWCA Crim 590

‘Where an offender convicted of a crime has rendered assistance to the police or other law enforcement authorities, the police may provide the court with information regarding the assistance rendered in a confidential letter signed by a senior police officer, known as a “text”, but the obligation of the police to provide a text when requested by the offender is a very limited one. Although the court will always expect the police to inform the court of the fact that the police have made a decision not to provide a text as matter of case management, it is sufficient if the police merely state that they will not provide any information to the court in relation to the offender’s assertions of assistance. The police are not required to give any explanation of their reasons for the decision, or the stage at which they decided not to provide any information. The police need do no more than say that the police will not provide any information to the court. Such a statement to the court can generally be provided by letter and not by text. There may unusually be circumstances where the police would have to reveal in the reply the assertions of the offender that he had provided assistance; in such a case it might therefore be necessary to provide the response in the form of a text. Whether it is provided by letter or text, it must be signed by a senior officer of police (normally a superintendent) or an equivalent senior official in other law enforcement agencies (paras 6, 18, 22).’

WLR Daily, 27th May 2016