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R v (1) MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER HORNCASTLE (2) DAVID LEE BLACKMORE : R v (1) ABIJAH MARQUIS (2) JOSEPH DAVID GRAHAM : R v DAVID MICHAEL CARTER

Provided the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 were observed, so that hearsay evidence was demonstrably reliable or its reliability could properly be tested and assessed, there was no breach of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.6, and in particular art.6(3)(d), if a conviction was based solely or to a decisive degree on hearsay evidence admitted under the Act.

2 June 2009

In conjoined appeals, the court was required to examine the proper approach to hearsay evidence and its compatibility with a defendant's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.6. In the first appeal, a witness was dead, but had made a full written statement before he died. In the second, a witness, who again had made detailed statements, had refused to attend because she was frightened for her safety, indeed for her life, if she did. In the third appeal, what was sought to be introduced as evidence was the product of business records in a large public company. In each case, the admission and use of the hearsay evidence was governed by the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Each of the appellants were convicted. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), sitting as a chamber, subsequently held, by its decision in Al-Khawaja v United Kingdom (26766/05) Unreported January 20, 2009 ECHR (which concerned admissions of a statement of evidence of a deceased...

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