CPS will now be able to use drill music videos as evidence in UK courts
Drill lyrics can also be used, but only when there is also other evidence to link a defendant to a crime
Drill music videos can now be used as evidence of affiliation in court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced.
Prosecutors can consider whether appearing in a drill music video together with another co-defendant of crime is vital evidence of association which could be used in court.
A press statement by the CPS clarifies that if a defendant in a case appears in the same drill music video as co-defendants, then prosecutors can judge whether that is vital evidence that a jury can hear. This vital evidence can be used to determine whether one defendant knows another.
It also states that if there is "other evidence to link the defendant to [commit] the offence," then drill lyrics can also be presented as evidence in court.
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Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, says that using music videos as evidence can help prove the “modus operandi” of violent cases, such as gang attacks.
As Complex reports, Hill said: “Drill music, by its nature, is supposed to shock, but it is not a crime and you have to put proper weight on that.
"What police officers, if anything, are [telling the court] is, ‘I’ve listened to it many times over, I can tell you what is being said; I can make a suggestion to what drug is being referred to."
In January, the CPS stated that they would be reviewing guidance around using drill lyrics as part of the evidence in criminal trials — at the time the organisation claimed that there was yet to be any incorrect usage of drill music lyrics as evidence.
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However, this recent move and this precedent set since January have been met with backlash from some experts and defence lawyers.
Birmingham City University criminologist Dr Mohammed Rahman, told iNews: "There are serious concerns about deciphering lyrics, be it drill or otherwise, by so-called experts who have worked on a few cases.
“Drill music has been around for 10 years. Have they been working on it since it emerged? What credentials do they have? How are they made aware of what the lyrics represent? How do they define that? It has more consequences than we can imagine.”
Drill music is heavily influenced by US hip hop, and it has been trailblazed by many in the UK since the early 2010s. Known for 808-infused beats and hard-hitting lyricism, the drill music scene has picked up popularity across cities and towns in the UK massively in the past decade.
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Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter