mcfarlane_web.doc - McFarlane v Ireland(Application no...

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McFarlane v. Ireland (Application no. 31333/06) Judgment, 10 September 2010 Reasonable time requirement and the right to a remedy The Applicant was charged with criminal offences and brought an application to the European Court arguing that the delay (between 10 and 22 years depending on the account) of the Irish authorities in bringing criminal proceedings against him violated the reasonable time requirement under Article 6(1) of the Convention and that he did not have available to him an effective domestic remedy under Article 13 of the Convention in respect of the delay complaint. The Grand Chamber of the Court, after hearing written and oral submissions from the parties, delivered its Judgment on 10 September 2010. The facts of the case are as follows: in December 1983, a high profile kidnapping in Ireland of Mr Don Tidey ended in a gunfight with the security forces. The kidnapped man was released but a soldier and policeman were killed. A forensic report identified fingerprints found on items at the crime scene as those of the applicant. On 7 January 1984 an internal police circular was issued stating that the applicant was wanted on serious charges connected to the kidnapping (para 10 of Judgment). The Applicant was subsequently imprisoned in Northern Ireland for a different offence. In January 1998 the Applicant was released on parole from prison in Northern Ireland and was subsequently arrested and detained in the Republic. He was later released on bail. He brought judicial review proceedings seeking prohibition of his prosecution, claiming that the delay in bringing criminal proceedings against him had prejudiced his prospect of obtaining a fair trial and that the failure of the prosecuting authorities to maintain and have available for inspection certain items of evidence had limited his ability to fully contest the nature and strength of the evidence to be introduced at his trial. His claims regarding the delay in instituting proceedings against him were eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court in March 2008 finding that while judicial delay “was significant, in the entire context of the case it did not amount to a breach of his constitutional right to an expeditious hearing of the criminal charges against him” (see para 37 of the European Court’s Judgment). With regard to the loss of evidence, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court deciding on the case would have to assess whether there was any unfairness for which the prosecution was responsible. A further application to prohibit the prosecution on grounds of delay was dismissed in January 2008. Charges against the Applicant were dropped in June 2008.
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  • Summer '17
  • allen dasu
  • Supreme Court of the United States, European Convention on Human Rights

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