Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 95 (Oct)
Court: European Court of Human Rights

Judges Pellonpaa (President), Bratza, Pastor Ridruejo, Palm, Casadevall, Maruste, Pavlovschi and Mr M O'Boyle (Section Registrar)

Judgment Dates: 8 October 2002


Criminal Law - Trial - Summing up - Adverse comment - Silence of accused - Direction to jury - Adverse inference direction - Accused failing to answer questions at police station interview - Judge directing jury as to permissible inferences from accused's silence - Whether terms of direction compatible with accused's right to silence - s 34 - European Convention on Human Rights, art 6.

The Case

The court ruled that a direction given by the trial judge as to permissible inferences which the jury could draw from the applicant's silence was incompatible with the applicant's right to silence under art6(1) of the European Court of Human Rights, since the direction had not contained all the matters which went to the plausibility of the applicant's explanation, and the jury should have been directed that if they had been satisfied that the applicant's silence at the police interview could not have sensibly been attributed to his having no answer, or none that would stand up to police questioning, they should not draw an adverse inference.

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