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United Kingdom: Court rejects convict’s fair trial complaint

Human rights judges have given their backing to authorities in the United Kingdom, in ruling against a convict’s fair trial complaint.

In their 31 March decision, the Strasbourg judges ruled that the use as evidence of an absent witness’s telephone recording did not make John Edward Seton’s trial unfair, in view of other decisive evidence.

In its judgement in the case (Seton v. the United Kingdom – application no. 55287/10), the court applied the principles established in its Grand Chamber judgments in two cases concerning the absence of witnesses at a public trial, Al-Khawaja and Tahery v. the United Kingdom and Schatschaschwili v. Germany (2011 and 2015 respectively).

It found that the criminal proceedings as a whole had not been rendered unfair, having regard to the fact that there had been other decisive incriminating evidence, and that the trial judge had applied procedural safeguards, capable of counterbalancing the witness’s absence at trial.

Decision

No violation of Article 6 § 1 in conjunction with Article 6 § 3 (d) (right to a fair trial and right to obtain attendance and examination of witnesses) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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