FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 39647/98 
by Martin John EDWARDS 
against the United Kingdom

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 10 September 2002 as a Chamber composed of

Mr M. Pellonpää, President
 Sir Nicolas Bratza
 Mr A. Pastor Ridruejo
 Mrs E. Palm
 Mr R. Maruste
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr L. Garlicki, judges
and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights on 6 September 1996,

Having regard to Article 5 § 2 of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention, by which the competence to examine the application was transferred to the Court,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,

Having regard to the parties’ oral submissions at the hearing on 10 September 2002,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

 

THE FACTS

The applicant, Martin John Edwards, is a United Kingdom national, who was born in 1946 and lives in Kent. He was represented before the Court by Mr P. Maynard, a lawyer practising in Tonbridge. At the oral hearing on 10 September 2002 the applicant was represented by Mr B. Emmerson QC, and Mr J. Hall, counsel, assisted by Mr P. Maynard and Mr D. Clarke, advisers. The respondent Government were represented by Mr H. Llewellyn, Agent, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, Mr D. Perry, counsel, Ms S. Cookson and Ms M. Cumberland, advisers.

A.  The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On 9 August 1994, following a surveillance and undercover operation, the applicant was arrested in a van in the company of an undercover police officer known only as “Graham”. In the van was a briefcase containing 4.83 kilograms of 50% pure heroin. On 7 April 1995 the applicant was convicted in Snaresbrook Crown Court of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

The applicant’s defence was that at the time of his arrest he believed he was taking part in a transaction to sell stolen jewellery. He alleged that his participation had been organised by a man named Geoffrey Lerway, whom he had met the previous year while both were detained on remand in Brixton Prison. According to the applicant, the week before his arrest Lerway had introduced him to a man called Jim Humphries and a man presented to him only as “Martin”. The day before the arrest, the applicant was contacted by Lerway and asked if he would be interested in going to Birmingham in connection with a jewellery deal in which Lerway was acting as intermediary to Martin in exchange for a cut of the purchase price. The applicant agreed that Lerway would pick him up from his home the next day.

The following morning, he was told that the plans had changed as Martin was now coming to London. The applicant, who had no other plans, agreed to accompany Lerway to a public house where, at approximately 12.45 p.m., a red Jaguar car and a white van drew up. The driver of the Jaguar was introduced to the applicant as “Jeff”; he was accompanied by a man and a woman, subsequently called “Terry” and “Carol”. The driver of the van was introduced as “Graham”. Jeff gave Lerway a briefcase containing GBP 125,000. They all then left in convoy for the Clive Hotel, Primrose Hill, where they were to meet Martin.

At the hotel, Lerway decided to stay with the money in the car and asked the applicant to see if Martin had arrived. He therefore went into the hotel where he met Jim Humphries, who told him that the arrangements had changed again as Martin was in Euston. Humphries and Lerway asked the applicant to take a taxi to Euston and ask Martin to return with him to the Clive Hotel. The applicant followed these instructions and found Martin, who told him he had to leave immediately for another meeting. Martin, having spoken to Humphries or Lerway by mobile phone, gave the applicant the key to a room in the nearby Ibis Hotel, and explained that the “goods” were in a briefcase in the room.

According to the applicant, Graham came from Primrose Hill in his van and met the applicant outside the Ibis. Graham then suggested that the applicant should accompany him up to the room and offered to give him a lift back to Primrose Hill afterwards. In the hotel room, Graham forced the lock on the case while the applicant was in the bathroom and when he came out Graham was ready to go. They returned to the van where the briefcase was opened and within moments the applicant had been arrested. 

Of all the participants in the above transaction, only the applicant was arrested and charged. The applicant suspects that the other participants were undercover police officers or informers acting on police instructions, but their identities and status have never been revealed to him. In this regard he considers it relevant that at the time of the alleged dealings, Lerway was on bail to the Middlesex Crown Court in respect of a large scale conspiracy to supply cannabis. One of the conspirators was a former Flying Squad Detective. It was known to the applicant that Lerway had acted as a participating police informer in that case and it was further known that the police officers involved in the applicant’s case had also investigated the conspiracy for which Lerway was on bail. The applicant believes that sentencing in Lerway’s trial was deliberately postponed until 12 April 1995, some five days after the conclusion of the applicant’s own trial, as a disincentive for Lerway to come forward and give evidence concerning the true nature of the transaction.

Prior to the commencement of the applicant’s trial the prosecution gave notice to the defence that an application to withhold material evidence had been made ex parte to the trial judge under the procedure approved in R. v. Davis, Johnson and Rowe (see below). Judge Owen Stable, who considered the material in the absence of the defence, concluded that it would not assist the defence and that there were genuine public interest grounds for withholding it. This ruling was subsequently reconsidered by the trial judge, who had the benefit of a document prepared by the defence, outlining the issues in the case, as well as of the oral submissions of defence counsel. In the course of the present proceedings before the European Court, the Government has revealed for the first time that the material placed before the trial judge included information indicating that the applicant had been involved in the supply of heroin before the start of the undercover operation. The subject matter of the public interest immunity evidence was not disclosed to the applicant during the domestic proceedings, either at first instance or on appeal. He denies any prior involvement in drug dealing. The trial judge, who directed himself in accordance with the approach set out by the Court of Appeal in R. v. Keane (see below), decided that the evidence in question would not assist the defence and found genuine public interest grounds in favour of non-disclosure.

Following the ruling on disclosure, the defence made an application to the trial judge under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”: see below) to exclude the evidence of Graham, on the basis that the applicant had been entrapped into committing the offence. These submissions were rejected. The judge held that in the course of the ex parte application he had heard nothing and seen no material which would have assisted the defence in their argument that evidence should be excluded under section 78 on grounds of entrapment. He continued that, if he had seen or heard any such material, he would have ordered disclosure.

Apart from the applicant, Graham was the only participant in the offence to give evidence at the applicant’s trial. He testified that the applicant had made a number of incriminating statements to him when they were alone together in the van and hotel room. Although Graham claimed to have made a full note of the alleged conversations, these notes were never shown to the applicant and the applicant was not questioned in connection with their content by the investigating police officers. According to the applicant it was, however, difficult for the defence to undermine Graham’s credibility because his full name and other identifying details were not disclosed.

Following his conviction the applicant appealed to the Court of Appeal on the ground, inter alia, that the judge had been wrong to refuse to order disclosure. Dismissing the appeal on 18 July 1996 the Court of Appeal, having itself examined the undisclosed evidence, observed that “each one of us reached the clearest possible view that nothing in the documents withheld could possibly have assisted the defence at trial; indeed quite the reverse”.

B. Relevant domestic law and practice

1. Entrapment under English law

The fact that the defendant would not have committed an offence were it not for the activity of an undercover police officer or an informer acting on police instructions does not provide a defence under English law (R. v. Sang [1980] Appeal Cases p. 402, House of Lords judgment). The judge does, however, have a discretion to order a stay of a prosecution where it appears that entrapment has occurred, as the House of Lords affirmed in R. v. Looseley; Attorney General’s Reference (No. 3 of 2000) ([2001] UKHL 53), a judgment which followed and approved the case-law as it stood at the time of the applicant’s trial, including the judgment of the House of Lords in R. v. Latif [1996] vol. 1 Weekly Law reports p. 104). In Looseley Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead explained, (§ 1):

“My Lords, every court has an inherent power and duty to prevent abuse of its process. This is a fundamental principle of the rule of law. By recourse to this principle courts ensure that executive agents of the state do not misuse the coercive, law enforcement functions of the courts and thereby oppress citizens of the state. Entrapment ... is an instance where such misuse may occur. It is simply not acceptable that the state through its agents should lure its citizens into committing acts forbidden by the law and then seek to prosecute them for doing so. That would be entrapment. That would be a misuse of state power, and an abuse of the process of the courts. The unattractive consequences, frightening and sinister in extreme cases, which state conduct of this nature could have are obvious. The role of the courts is to stand between the state and its citizens and make sure this does not happen”.

In addition, the court has a discretion, under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, to exclude evidence obtained by an undercover police officer where, inter alia, the defendant would not have committed the offence without the police incitement (R. v. Smurthwaite; R. v. Gill (1994) vol. 98 Criminal Appeal Reports p. 437, judgment of the Court of Appeal; and Looseley, cited above). Of the two remedies, the grant of a stay, rather than the exclusion of evidence, is the more appropriate remedy because a prosecution founded on entrapment is an abuse of the court’s process and should not have been brought in the first place.

In Looseley, their Lordships agreed that it was not possible to set out a comprehensive definition of unacceptable police conduct or “state created crime”. In each case it was for the judge, having regard to all the circumstances, to decide whether the conduct of the police or other law enforcement agency was so seriously improper as to bring the administration of justice into dispute. Factors to be taken into account included the nature of the offence, the reason for the particular police operation, the possibility of using other methods of detection and the nature and extent of police participation in the crime; the greater the inducement held out by the police, and the more forceful and persistent the police overtures, the more readily might a court conclude that the police had overstepped the boundary, since their conduct might well have brought about the commission of a crime by a person who would normally avoid crime of that kind. The police should act in good faith to uncover evidence of criminal acts which they reasonably suspected the accused was about to commit or was already engaged in committing, and the police operation should be properly supervised. The defendant’s criminal record was unlikely to be relevant unless it could be linked to other factors grounding reasonable suspicion that he or she had been engaged in the criminal activity in question prior to the involvement of the police (per Lord Nicholls, §§ 26-29; Lord Hoffmann, §§ 50-71).

2. Disclosure of evidence by the prosecution

At common law, the prosecution has a duty to disclose any material which has or might have some bearing on the offence charged. This duty extends to any earlier written or oral statement of a prosecution witness which is inconsistent with evidence given by that witness at the trial and statements of any witnesses potentially favourable to the defence.

In December 1981 the Attorney-General issued Guidelines, which did not have the force of law, concerning exceptions to the common law duty to disclose to the defence evidence of potential assistance to it ((1982) 74 Cr. App. R. 302 (“the Guidelines”)). According to the Guidelines, the duty to disclose was subject to a discretionary power for prosecuting counsel to withhold relevant evidence if it fell within one of the categories set out in paragraph 6. One of these categories (6(iv)) was “sensitive” material which, because of its sensitivity, it would not be in the public interest to disclose. “Sensitive material” was defined as follows:

“... (a) it deals with matters of national security; or it is by, or discloses the identity of, a member of the Security Services who would be of no further use to those services once his identity became known; (b) it is by, or discloses the identity of an informant and there are reasons for fearing that the disclosure of his identity would put him or his family in danger; (c) it is by, or discloses the identity of a witness who might be in danger of assault or intimidation if his identity became known; (d) it contains details which, if they became known, might facilitate the commission of other offences or alert someone not in custody that he is a suspect; or it discloses some unusual form of surveillance or method of detecting crime; (e) it is supplied only on condition that the contents will not be disclosed, at least until a subpoena has been served upon the supplier - e.g. a bank official; (f) it relates to other offences by, or serious allegations against, someone who is not an accused, or discloses previous convictions or other matters prejudicial to him; (g) it contains details of private delicacy to the maker and/or might create risk of domestic strife.”

In R. v. Ward ([1993] vol. 1 Weekly Law Reports p. 619) the Court of Appeal stressed that the court and not the prosecution was to decide whether or not relevant evidence should be retained on grounds of public interest immunity. It explained that “... a judge is balancing on the one hand the desirability of preserving the public interest in the absence of disclosure against, on the other hand, the interests of justice. Where the interests of justice arise in a criminal case touching and concerning liberty or conceivably on occasion life, the weight to be attached to the interests of justice is plainly very great indeed”.

In R. v. Davis, Johnson and Rowe ([1993] vol. 1 Weekly Law Reports p. 613), the Court of Appeal held that it was not necessary in every case for the prosecution to give notice to the defence when it wished to claim public interest immunity, and outlined three different procedures to be adopted. The first procedure, which had generally to be followed, was for the prosecution to give notice to the defence that they were applying for a ruling by the court and indicate to the defence at least the category of the material which they held. The defence would then have the opportunity to make representations to the court. Secondly, however, where the disclosure of the category of the material in question would in effect reveal that which the prosecution contended should not be revealed, the prosecution should still notify the defence that an application to the court was to be made, but the category of the material need not be disclosed and the application should be ex parte. The third procedure would apply in an exceptional case where to reveal even the fact that an ex parte application was to be made would in effect be to reveal the nature of the evidence in question. In such cases the prosecution should apply to the court ex parte without notice to the defence.

The Court of Appeal observed that although ex parte applications limited the rights of the defence, in some cases the only alternative would be to require the prosecution to choose between following an inter partes procedure or declining to prosecute, and in rare but serious cases the abandonment of a prosecution in order to protect sensitive evidence would be contrary to the public interest. It referred to the important role performed by the trial judge in monitoring the views of the prosecution as to the proper balance to be struck and remarked that even in cases in which the sensitivity of the information required an ex parte hearing, the defence had “as much protection as can be given without pre-empting the issue”. Finally, it emphasised that it was for the trial judge to continue to monitor the position as the trial progressed. Issues might emerge during the trial which affected the balance and required disclosure “in the interests of securing fairness to the defendant”. For this reason it was important for the same judge who heard any disclosure application also to conduct the trial.

The leading case on disclosure at the time of the applicant’s trial was the judgment of the Court of Appeal in R. v. Keane ([1994] vol. 1 Weekly Law Reports p. 746). The Lord Chief Justice, giving the judgment of the court, held that the prosecution should put before the judge only those documents which it regarded as material but wished to withhold on grounds of public interest immunity. “Material” evidence was defined as evidence which could be seen, “on a sensible appraisal by the prosecution: (1) to be relevant or possibly relevant to an issue in the case; (2) to raise or possibly raise a new issue whose existence is not apparent from the evidence which the prosecution proposes to use; (3) to hold out a real (as opposed to fanciful) prospect of providing a lead on evidence which goes to (1) or (2)”.

Once the judge was seized of the material, he or she had to perform the balancing exercise between the public interest in non-disclosure and the importance of the documents to the issues of interest, or likely to be of interest, to the accused. If the disputed material might prove the defendant’s innocence or avoid a miscarriage of justice, the balance came down firmly in favour of disclosing it. Where, on the other hand, the material in question would not be of assistance to the accused, but would in fact assist the prosecution, the balance was likely to be in favour of non-disclosure.

In the case of R. v. Turner ([1995] vol. 1 Weekly Law Reports p. 264), the Court of Appeal returned to the balancing exercise, stating inter alia:

“Since R. v. Ward ... there has been an increasing tendency for defendants to seek disclosure of informants’ names and roles, alleging that those details are essential to the defence. Defences that the accused has been set up, and allegations of duress, which used at one time to be rare, have multiplied. We wish to alert judges to the need to scrutinise applications for disclosure of details about informants with very great care. They will need to be astute to see that assertions of a need to know such details, because they are essential to the running of the defence, are justified. If they are not so justified, then the judge will need to adopt a robust approach in declining to order disclosure. Clearly, there is a distinction between cases in which the circumstances raise no reasonable possibility that information about the informant will bear upon the issues and cases where it will. Again, there will be cases where the informant is an informant and no more; other cases where he may have participated in the events constituting, surrounding, or following the crime. Even when the informant has participated, the judge will need to consider whether his role so impinges on an issue of interest to the defence, present or potential, as to make disclosure necessary ...”

The requirements of disclosure have since been set out in a statutory scheme. Under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”), which came into effect in England and Wales immediately upon gaining Royal Assent on 4 July 1996, the prosecution must make “primary disclosure” of all previously undisclosed evidence which, in the prosecutor’s view, might undermine the case for the prosecution. The defendant must then give a defence statement to the prosecution and the court, setting out in general terms the nature of the defence and the matters on which the defence takes issue with the prosecution. The prosecution must then make a “secondary disclosure” of all previously undisclosed material “which might reasonably be expected to assist the accused’s defence as disclosed by the defence statement”. Disclosure by the prosecution may be subject to challenge by the accused and review by the trial court.

3. “Special Counsel”

Following the judgments of the Court in Chahal v. the United Kingdom (15 November 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-V) and Tinnelly v. the United Kingdom (10 July 1998, Reports 1998-IV), the United Kingdom has introduced legislation making provision for the appointment of a “special counsel” in certain cases involving national security. The provisions are contained in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 (“the 1997 Act”), and the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (“the 1998 Act”). Under this legislation, where it is necessary on national security grounds for the relevant tribunal to sit in camera, in the absence of the affected individual and his or her legal representatives, the Attorney General may appoint a special counsel to represent the interests of the individual in the proceedings. The legislation provides that the special counsel is not however “responsible to the person whose interest he is appointed to represent”, thus ensuring that the special counsel is both entitled and obliged to keep confidential any information which cannot be disclosed. The relevant rules giving effect to the 1997 and 1998 Acts are set out in the Court’s judgment in Jasper v. the United Kingdom ([GC], no. 27052/92, § 36, ECHR 2000).

In December 1999 the Government commissioned a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, under the chairmanship of a senior Court of Appeal judge, Sir Robin Auld. The report, published in September 2001 after extensive consultation and entitled “The Review of the Criminal Courts in England and Wales” (“the Auld Report”), recommended, inter alia, the introduction of a “special counsel” scheme in cases where the prosecution wished to seek, ex parte, non-disclosure on grounds of public interest immunity. The recommendation was explained in the Report as follows (footnotes omitted):

“193. The scheme [developed by the common law since R v. Ward and reflected in the 1996 Act: see above] is an improvement on what went before and has been generally welcomed on that account. But there is widespread concern in the legal professions about lack of representation of the defendant’s interest in the [ex parte] forms of application, and anecdotal and reported instances of resultant unfairness to the defence. ... A suggestion, argued on behalf of applicants in Strasbourg and widely supported in the Review, is that the exclusion of the defendant from the procedure should be counterbalanced by the introduction of a ‘special independent counsel’. He would represent the interest of the defendant at first instance and, where necessary, on appeal on a number of issues: first, as to the relevance of the undisclosed material if and to the extent that it has not already been resolved in favour of disclosure but for a public interest immunity claim; second, on the strength of the claim to public interest immunity; third, on how helpful the material might be to the defence; and fourth, generally to safeguard against the risk of judicial error or bias.

194. In my view, there is much to be said for such a proposal, regardless of the vulnerability or otherwise of the present procedures to Article 6. Tim Owen QC, in a paper prepared for the Review, has argued powerfully in favour of it. It would restore some adversarial testing of the issues presently absent in the determination of these often critical and finely balanced applications. It should not be generally necessary for special counsel to be present throughout the trial. Mostly the matter should be capable of resolution by the court before trial and, if any question about it arises during trial, he could be asked to return. If, because of the great number of public interest immunity issues now being taken in the courts, the instruction of special counsel for each would be costly, it simply indicates, as Owen has commented, the scale of the problem and is not an argument against securing a fair solution.

195. The role would be similar to that of an amicus curiae brought in to give independent assistance to a court, albeit mostly on appeal. In rape cases, where an unrepresented defendant seeks to cross-examine a complainant, the court must inform him that he may not do so, and should he refuse to instruct counsel, the court will appoint and instruct one. After the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Chahal and Tinnelly, the Government introduced such a procedure in immigration cases involving national security. Although such cases are extremely rare, it is sufficient that the principle of a ‘third’ or ‘special’ counsel being instructed on behalf of a defendant has been conceded in a number of areas.

196. The introduction of a system of special independent counsel could, as Owen has also noted, in part fill a lacuna in the law as to public interest immunity hearings in the absence of a defendant appellant in the Court of Appeal, to which the 1996 Act and supporting Rules do not apply. Where there has been a breach of Article 6 because a trial judge did not conduct a public interest immunity hearing due to the emergence of the material only after conviction, the European Court of Human Rights has held that the breach cannot be cured by a hearing before the Court of Appeal in the absence of the appellant. The Court’s reasons for so holding were that the appeals court is confined to examining the effect of non-disclosure on the trial ex post facto and could possibly be unconsciously influenced by the jury’s verdict into underestimating the significance of the undisclosed material.

197. However, even the introduction of special counsel to such hearings would not solve the root problem to which I have referred of police failure, whether out of incompetence or dishonesty, to indicate to the prosecutor the existence of critical information. Unless, as I have recommended, the police significantly improve their performance in that basic exercise, there will be no solid foundation for whatever following safeguards are introduced into the system.

I recommend the introduction of a scheme for instruction by the court of special independent counsel to represent the interests of the defendant in those cases at first instance and on appeal where the court now considers prosecution applications in the absence of the defence in respect of the non-disclosure of sensitive material.”

COMPLAINTS

The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the incitement of the offence by agents provocateurs, the non-disclosure of evidence and the failure to identify or call as witnesses the other participants in the offence deprived him of a fair trial.

THE LAW

The applicant complained that he had been deprived of a fair trial contrary to Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which provides:

“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”

The Government contended that the applicant had been given a fair trial. They submitted that the principle set out in the Court’s Teixeira de Castro v. Portugal judgment of 9 June 1998 (Reports 1998-IV) had been respected, in that there was no material to suggest that the applicant had been incited or procured by police officers or others on their behalf to commit an offence which he would not otherwise have committed. This was the conclusion reached by the trial judge, who had considered the public interest immunity material and ruled that, since there was nothing in it that would assist the defence, it should not be disclosed. The Court of Appeal had also examined the undisclosed evidence and had held that the applicant had not been disadvantaged as a result of their nondisclosure. The information placed before the trial judge and the Court of Appeal in the ex parte procedures suggested that the applicant had already been engaged in the supply of heroin at the time of the undercover operation. The Government submitted that, according to the evidence given by “Graham” at the applicant’s trial, the applicant had voluntarily, actively and knowingly involved himself in the supply of drugs.

The Government further contended that the ex parte procedure followed by the domestic courts afforded adequate safeguards to the defence, and that the applicant’s case was indistinguishable from Jasper v. the United Kingdom (cited above), where the Court found no violation of Article 6 § 1. In particular, the Government emphasised that the trial judge, who was under a duty to order disclosure if the material in question had assisted the defence case, examined the evidence having heard the submissions of defence counsel and with knowledge of the defence case on entrapment. The trial judge’s conclusions were confirmed by the Court of Appeal. “Graham” gave evidence for the prosecution, and the applicant was able to cross-examine him at trial. If the applicant had wished to call Lerway or Humphries he could have applied for summonses to secure their attendance as witnesses. In the absence of other participants in the events of 9 August 1994, the applicant was able to put forward his version of events without contradiction.

The applicant submitted that it was impossible for him to establish, on the available evidence, whether or not the involvement of agents provocateurs in the offence he committed rendered the proceedings against him unfair. Evidence on this point had been withheld from the defence on grounds of public interest immunity.

He considered that the domestic proceedings were fundamentally unfair because the trial judge, who had to decide the question of fact whether the accused had been the victim of entrapment and abuse of process, also had to review the material for which the prosecution claimed public interest immunity, in the absence of any representative of the defendant and without any adversarial process. The present case could be distinguished from the above-mentioned Jasper judgment, because in a case such as Jasper where no issue of entrapment arose, the separation of function between judge and jury ensured that neither side could rely on the undisclosed evidence and therefore that equality of arms was maintained. The tribunal of fact saw nothing which the accused and his lawyers were not permitted to see, and the judge was under a duty to order disclosure if the material in question was likely to assist the defence case (see R. v. Keane, above). In the present case, it appeared that the undisclosed material was positively damaging to the accused’s allegations of entrapment, which he had the burden of proving and which the judge had to decide, but the defence remained ignorant of the nature or content of the evidence placed before the judge and was unable to challenge it.

The applicant pointed out that the Auld Report (see above) constituted recognition by a respected member of the senior judiciary, following wide consultation, that the present ex parte system was unfair and that the practical obstacles to the introduction of a “special counsel” to ensure some adversarial testing of the issues could reasonably be overcome.

The Court considers that the application raises complex issues of law and fact under Article 6 of the Convention, the determination of which should depend on an examination of the merits. It concludes, therefore, that the application is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other grounds for declaring it inadmissible have been established.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the application admissible, without prejudging the merits of the case.

Michael O’Boyle Matti Pellonpää 
 Registrar President

EDWARDS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM DECISION


EDWARDS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM DECISION