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CPS will review the use of drill as evidence in criminal trials

"Drill is just the youth expressing themselves"

  • Becky Buckle
  • 25 January 2022
CPS will review the use of drill as evidence in criminal trials

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will review its guidance on the use of drill as evidence against defendants in criminal trials.

Defence lawyers and academics have expressed concern about the use of the genre in prosecuting young Black men - as they believe it can prevent a fair ruling.

The CPS has said that it is not aware of any cases where drill music has been wrongly used as evidence.

Drill music has been used as evidence in inciting gang violence as the CPS explains and that it is only used when it is “important” and “relevant”.

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With the help from academics, barristers, civil liberty campaigners and youth groups, the CPS is conducting a “listening exercise” to analyse how trials can be unfairly affected with the use of drill music and the stereotype of you Black defendants and violence.

Nick Federici, a youth worker at the Pythian Club which is taking part in the exercise told BBC News about the misconceptions of drill.

"Drill is just the youth expressing themselves," he said, "[It] doesn't cause crime in deprived areas. It's poverty, it's envy, it's so many other things going on, underlying issues."

However, Federici does think that drill videos can sometimes "speed up a process" when they are shared around social media.

"Obviously if somebody gets on a song and calls my name out and tells me this and that, it's going to provoke me," he said.

"I don't believe it can start and cause violence, but it can definitely speed up a process, just through pure embarrassment.

"It might make someone feel like they need to react because they've been spoken about on the internet."

The Crown Prosecution Service's existing guidance for prosecutors’ states that gangs are "increasingly using drill music and social media to promote gang culture, glamorise the gang lifestyle and the use of weapons".

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"They may post videos online that seek to taunt rivals, incite violence or glamorise criminality," it says.

"The videos often show the brandishing of weapons, include incendiary remarks about recent incidents of young people being killed or seriously injured, and threats to stab or shoot specific individuals and members of rival groups."

The guidance claims that issues can "escalate very quickly" due to the "instant nature of social media".

According to research by the BBC, drill music is increasingly being used as evidence in criminal trials.

Music videos of defendants have been used in court to establish a motive for instance in the murder of Lyrico Steede in 2018.

This particular trial is said to have seen a dispute over whether the murderers of Mr Steede were fuelled by drill music videos in which they insulted and threatened each other.

[Via: BBC News]

Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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