Drill music videos can now be used as evidence of affiliation in court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced.
Prosecutors can determine whether appearing in a drill music video with another co-defendant of a crime is essential evidence of association that could be used in court.
A CPS press release clarifies that if a defendant in a case appears in the same drill video clip as the co-defendants, then prosecutors can judge whether it is vital evidence for a jury to hear. This vital evidence can be used to determine whether one accused knows another.
It also specifies that if there is “other evidence linking the defendant to [commit] offence”, then the lyrics of the exercises can also be presented as evidence in court.
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Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, says 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 very nature, is meant to shock, but that’s not a crime and you have to give it appropriate weight.
“What the police, if any, are [telling the court] it’s: ‘I’ve listened to it several times, I can tell you what’s being said; I can suggest which drug is being referred to.”
In January, the CPS said it would review guidelines for the use of drill lyrics as part of evidence in criminal trials – at the time the organization claimed there had not yet been improper use of drill music lyrics as evidence.
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However, this recent decision and the precedent set since January have drawn negative reactions from some experts and defense lawyers.
University of Birmingham Criminologist Dr Mohammad RahmanTold iNews“There are serious concerns about the deciphering of lyrics, whether exercises or otherwise, by so-called experts who have worked on a few cases.
“Drill music has been around for 10 years. Have they worked on it since its release? What qualifications do they have? How are they sensitized to what the lyrics represent? How do they define that? This has more consequences than we can imagine.
Drill music is heavily influenced by American hip hop, and has been pioneering in the UK since the early 2010s. Known for its 808-infused beats and hard-hitting lyricism, the drill music scene has grown massively in popularity in cities and towns across the UK over the past decade.
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Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag’s digital intern, follow her on Twitter