EIT: IRA:n jäsenen oikeudenkäynti ei ollut epäoikeudenmukainen

13.12.2013 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

Euroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuin (EIT) on eilen antamassaan tuomiossa katsonut, että oikeudenkäynti, jossa valittajaa syytettiin kuulumisesta IRA:aan (Irish Republican Army, Irlannin tasavaltalaisarmeija) ei ollut ollut epäoikeudenmukainen huolimatta siitä, että valittaja ei ollut saanut tutustua kaikkeen siihen aineistoon, joka tuki väitettä hänen jäsenyydestään IRA:ssa.

EIT kiinnitti huomiota etenkin siihen, että erityisrikostuomioistuimen jäsenet olivat saaneet tutustua jäsenyyttä tukevaan aineistoon, että poliisijohtajan (Chief Superintendent) käsitykselle annettiin lainsäädännön tasolla vain tietty painoarvo, ja että valittaja oli saanut toteuttaa kunnollisen vastakuulustelun poliisijohtajalle, joka oli kuulustelussaan kertonut käsityksestään valittajan kuulumisesta IRA:aan. Tuon kuulustelun yhteydessä poliisijohtaja oli ilmoittanut käsityksensä perustuvan tiettyyn aineistoon, jota valittajalle siis ei luovutettu, mutta johon tuomarit saivat tutustua.

EIT:n lehdistötiedotteesta:

The Court noted that, in order to assess the fairness of the non-disclosure of P.K.’s sources, three questions had to be addressed. The first was whether it had been necessary to uphold P.K.’s claim of privilege. The Court found that the justifications given – of protecting human life, namely, persons in danger of reprisals from the IRA and State security as well as the effective prosecution of serious and complex crime – had been compelling and substantiated and that the non-disclosure had therefore been necessary.

The second question was whether the undisclosed evidence had been the sole or decisive basis for Mr Donohoe’s conviction. The Court found that this was not the case, noting that the trial court had heard over 50 other prosecution witnesses and that there was other important evidence provided by the prosecution, namely: Mr Donohoe’s link to the suspicious activities at Corke Abbey on 2 October 2002 via the Nissan Micra (whose movements during the Corke Abbey events had to have been carried out, if not with his acquiescence, then at the least with his knowledge) as well as to incriminating objects found in the vehicles; the papers found at Mr Donohoe’s home; and, the inference which the trial court was entitled to draw from his complete refusal to answer questions that were of clear relevance to the charges against him.

The third question was whether there had been sufficient safeguards during the trial to counterbalance the disadvantage caused to Mr Donohoe’s defence by the upholding of P.K.’s claim of privilege. The Court noted that the trial court had adopted a number of measures having regard to the rights of the defence.

Firstly, there had been judicial control over the question of non-disclosure in that the SCC had reviewed the documentary materials upon which P.K.’s belief was based in order to test the adequacy and reliability of that belief. It found that P.K. had had adequate and reliable information on which he could legitimately form the opinion that Mr Donohoe was a member of the IRA. Furthermore, the SCC confirmed that there had been nothing in the undisclosed files that might have assisted Mr Donohoe’s defence. If Mr Donohoe had doubted the trial judges’ assessment he could have asked the appeal court to check their conclusions. The SCC also confirmed that it would not convict Mr Donohoe on the basis of P.K.’s evidence alone and that it required this to be corroborated by other evidence. It had kept Mr Donohoe informed of the procedure, allowing him to make detailed submissions about it.

The Court also noted that the laws allowing the admission of ‘belief’ evidence ensured that it could only be provided by a high ranking police officer and that it would be assessed by the court as a belief rather than a fact. Finally, the defence could still cross-examine the Chief Superintendent in a range of ways – such as by asking about the nature of his sources, whether he knew or personally dealt with any of the informants and about his experience in gathering intelligence – in order to allow the trial court to assess his demeanour and credibility and the reliability of his evidence.

Therefore, considering the weight of the evidence other than P.K.’s belief as well as the numerous counterbalancing safeguards, the Court found that the non-disclosure of P.K.’s sources had not made Mr Donohoe’s trial unfair.

Koko lehdistötiedote, missä myös linkki koko tuomioon, löytyy täältä: Donohoe v. Ireland

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