On Thursday, judges will make known their ruling in a highly anticipated United Kingdom case which concerns the use of hearsay evidence in criminal trials.
The complaint against the United Kingdom was brought by Imad Al-Khawaja and Ali Tahery.
Imad Al-Khawaja is a British national who was born in 1956 and lives in Brighton (United Kingdom). While working as a consultant physician in the field of rehabilitative medicine, he was charged on two counts of indecent assault on two female patients while they were allegedly under hypnosis. He was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment on the first count and 12 months’ imprisonment on the second count, to run consecutively.
Ali Tahery is an Iranian national who was born in Tehran in 1975 and lives in London. He was convicted principally of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and later sentenced to 10 years and three months’ imprisonment.
The European Court of Human Rights will deliver a judgment in the case of Al-Khawaja and Tahery v. the United Kingdom (application nos. 26766/05 and 22228/06) at a public hearing in Strasbourg on 15 December at 9h30 (CET)
Complaints and procedure
Al-Khawaja lodged his application with the European Court of Human Rights on 18 July 2005 and Tahery, on 23 May 2006. The applicants complain that their convictions were based to a decisive degree on statements from witnesses who could not be cross-examined in court and that they were therefore denied a fair trial, in breach of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d) (right to obtain attendance and examination of witnesses) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
A Chamber hearing in both cases took place in public in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 8 January 2008.
In its Chamber judgment of 20 January 2009, the Court joined the cases and held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 in conjunction with Article 6 § 3 (d) of the Convention concerning the decisions to allow statements from absent witnesses to be read at the applicants’ trial.
On 1 March 2010 the case was referred to the Grand Chamber at the request of the United Kingdom Government.
A Grand Chamber hearing took place in on 19 May 2010.