The Law Commission and section 69 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
In 2000 section 69 of the Police and Criminal Act 1984 was repealed. The result was that a common law presumption came into effect that computer evidence was considered reliable unless there was evidence to the contrary. The Law Commission had recommended repeal of section 69 without any replacement. This article demonstrates that the Law Commission either misunderstood, or misrepresented, the sources it cited to justify its recommendation that computer evidence should be considered reliable. Two of the three main experts whose work was cited have confirmed that they were misrepresented. The recommendation and the resulting presumption therefore lack any factual or evidential basis.
Index words: Law Commission; England & Wales; Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; section 69; repeal; presumption computers are reliable; misunderstood; misrepresented