Centre MSc student Richard Martin recently published a paper in the Criminal Law Review entitled 'The recent supergrass controversy: have we learnt from the troubled past?' (CLR 2013(4) 273- 289). The article can be found here (login required), and the abstract is reproduced below:
After a troubled past in England and Northern Ireland the supergrass has returned. The revival of this notorious character by the police forces in both countries to combat organised crime and paramilitary gangs has caused increasing controversy. Through exploring the troubled past, this discussion demonstrates that underlying this controversy is the question of the legitimacy of a process. The ultimate lesson of the past is that in order to achieve legitimacy the supergrass process must be successfully institutionalized. In seeking to answer whether the new process has learnt this lesson, the discussion identifies and analyzes three key stages in the process: pre-trial, trial and post-trial. Whilst institutionalisation has largely been achieved at the pre-trial stage, the trial and post-trial stages remain haunted by ghosts from the past, which challenge the values to which the criminal justice system aspires.