Streamlined Forensic Reporting

Understanding Streamlined Forensic Reporting (SFR)

An SFR report may answer who and what, but not other questions such as how.SFR, or Streamlined Forensic Reporting, first introduced in 2013, is designed to enable investigators, scientists, prosecutors and the defence to comply with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrimPR).  It is a case management procedure for producing forensic evidence at court which seeks to reduce costs and delay in the Criminal Justice System.  The primary purpose is to narrow down the real issues, including scientific evidence issues, upon which the court must decide.  The aim is to achieve early agreement with the defence and to identify contested issues prior to trial.  Since 2013, there have been a few changes to this reporting system.  Understanding what a Streamlined Forensic Report does and doesn’t tell you can be critical to being able to effectively advise a defendant.

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Streamlined Forensic Reporting – the hidden truth

Dictionary entry for evidence - forensic evidence is now commonly reported using streamlined forensic reportsStreamlined Forensic Reporting (SFR) was rolled out nationally in April 2013.  The CPS guidance document states that  “SFR is a revised case management procedure for producing forensic evidence at court, which seeks to reduce unnecessary costs, and delay in the criminal justice system. The process takes a more proportionate approach to forensic evidence through the early preparation of a short report that details the key forensic evidence the prosecution intend to rely upon.  The aim is to achieve early agreement with the defence on forensic issues but where this cannot be achieved in the first instance, to identify the contested issues.”

The first stage SFR1 report is not a witness statement or report to which the Criminal Procedure Rules apply.  It is, at this stage, difficult for the defence to determine whether they dispute the evidence being provided as the information that the SFR1 provides is often nothing more than a bland description of the analytical result, with little if any background or interpretational information.  READ MORE