Allen v United Kingdom: ECHR 10 Sep 2002

The court rejected as inadmissible an application challenging admissibility of evidence obtained from him by the Revenue either by compulsion or inducement.
Held: ‘The Court notes that in this case the applicant does not complain that the information about his assets which he gave the Inland Revenue was used against him in the sense that it incriminated him in the commission of an offence due to acts or omissions in which he had been involved prior to that moment. His situation may therefore be distinguished from that of the applicant in Saunders . . The applicant was charged with and convicted of the offence of making a false declaration of his assets to the Inland Revenue. In other words, he lied, or perjured himself through giving inaccurate information about his assets. This was not an example of forced self-incrimination about an offence which he had previously committed; it was the offence itself. It may be that the applicant lied in order to prevent the Inland Revenue uncovering conduct which might possibly be criminal and lead to a prosecution. However, the privilege against self-incrimination cannot be interpreted as giving a general immunity to actions motivated by the desire to evade investigation by the revenue authorities.’ The court noted small penalties for refusing a declaration and the two years imprisonment for refusing to answer questions in Saunders and added: ‘Nor does the Court consider that any improper inducement was brought to bear through the use of the so-called ‘Hansard Warning’ which informed the applicant of the practice of the Inland Revenue of taking into account the co-operation of the taxpayer in deciding whether to bring any prosecution for fraud. There is no indication that the applicant was misled as to the effect of the warning, accepting that it could not be interpreted as any kind of guarantee of freedom from prosecution. Consequently, the Court does not find that the facts of this case disclose any infringement of the right to silence or privilege against self-incrimination or that there has been any unfairness contrary to Article 6 ss 1 of the Convention.’
76574/01, [2002] ECHR 858
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Sewa Singh Gill and Paramjit Singh Gill CACD 31-Jul-2003
The appellants sought to challenge their convictions for cheating the Inland Revenue. They were accused of having hidden assets and income from the revenue. The appellants objected to the use at trial of material obtained in a ‘Hansard’ interview. . .

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Updated: 10 January 2021; Ref: scu.185070