Today the European Court of Human Rights found that the use of hearsay evidence does not automatically prevent a fair trial. The Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Al-Khawaja and Tahery v UK held that while there had been a violation of article 6 – the right to a fair trial – in respect to Tahery, there had been no violation in Al Khawaja. The judgment in part overturns an earlier judgment by one of the Court’s chambers and follows the Supreme Court’s consideration of the same issue in the case of R v Horncastle.
In celebration of International Human Rights Day on 10th December, Liberty today held a prize-giving ceremony for its Write Human Rights schools competition. The nationwide competition, launched last year, asked entrants to write a short piece of poetry or prose inspired by any or all of the Articles within the Human Rights Act.
The Government has issued a landmark apology for serious failings relating to the death of a black former British Army soldier in police custody. Father-of-two Christopher Alder, 37, choked to death on the floor in a pool of his own blood, urine and excrement while four officers stood, watched, chatted and joked at Hull Police Station in April 1998. None of the officers faced any criminal or disciplinary penalty in relation to the incident.
Today Liberty announced that they will represent the family that has been threatened with eviction by Wandsworth council. The council has said that if Maite de la Calva’s son is convicted of a crime committed during the riots, they will evict both her and her young daughter – neither Ms de la Calva nor her daughter is accused of any wrongdoing.
Today Liberty warned against extending the principle of “secret justice” into ordinary civil cases against the Government. A new Green Paper on secret evidence proposes that ministers should be able to initiate closed proceedings in civil cases where the Government claims disclosure would compromise national security, put sources at risk or undermine so-called key partnerships.
Today Liberty rejected the main conclusions of the Scott Baker review of extradition laws. The review, which reported today, states that a new ‘forum’ rule - which means that the accused should be tried in the UK if the crime was committed here - is not necessary.