Gangster wins human rights pay out but UK still scores victory

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Gangster wins human rights pay out but UK still scores victory

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:28 pm

A gangster has been awarded £15,000 after European judges ruled evidence used to convict him breached his human rights.



Ali Tahery, who stabbed a rival gang member, had his right to a fair trial breached because his lawyers could not challenge the key evidence against him when the main witness refused to attend court, the European Court of Human Rights said.

However, in a significant victory for the UK, the court accepted that in principle the use of so-called hearsay evidence in future cases would not necessarily breach human rights.

Judges had been very concerned that a previous ruling by the ECHR would have meant prosecutors forced to stop using evidence from victims and witnesses who do not attend trials.

The issue had also led to the first significant clash between the UK courts and Europe over who should dictate domestic law.

Tahery, a London-based Iranian, was jailed for ten years in 2005 for wounding with intent after he stabbed a man three times during a gang fight. The prosecution centred on the evidence of the only witness to have seen him but he refused to attend court in person out of fear.

The judge allowed his statement to be read out but warned the jury about the dangers of relying on it as it could not be tested under cross-examination.
The ECHR’s Grand Chamber, the upper tier, yesterday said there were not sufficient counterbalances in place and therefore his rights had been breached.

However it overturned the ECHR’s previous more general ruling that hearsay evidence would always breach human rights. It said: "The court agreed with the domestic (UK) courts and found that a conviction based solely or decisively on the statement of an absent witness would not automatically result in a breach of Article 6-1 (of the Human Rights Convention.) However, counterbalancing factors had to be in place, including strong procedural safeguards, to compensate for the difficulties caused to the defence."

The court dismissed a second case, involving Imad Al-Khawaja, a 55-year-old consultant physician at Brighton General Hospital, who was jailed for indecent assault against two women patients after the key evidence was delivered in a written statement by one of the victims who had been suffering from multiple sclerosis and committed suicide before the trial began.

The appeal had been brought by the UK Government but in 2009, the Supreme Court, ruling on two similar cases, effectively dismissed the original ECHR judgment concluding that it did not "sufficiently appreciate" or account for safeguards included in the UK's domestic laws to ensure such evidence is used fairly.

James Welch, legal director for civil liberties pressure group Liberty, said: "Strasbourg's change of heart shows the importance of its dialogue with our Supreme Court.”

But Jodie Blackstock, of the campaign group Justice, said: "The ability to confront one's accuser is a fundamental principle of our common law. This judgment underlines the importance of that principle.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8958483/Gangster-wins-human-rights-pay-out-but-UK-still-scores-victory.html

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Re: Gangster wins human rights pay out but UK still scores victory

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:12 pm

Keep voting for "More of the same" people! Twisted Evil Sad

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