Garcia Alva v Germany: ECHR 13 Feb 2001

The complainant had been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and was detained on remand. When he brought an application for review of his detention his lawyers were not given access to a number of documents in the file, including the depositions of a witness whose testimony was key evidence against him. The ground for withholding these was that consultation of these documents would endanger the purpose of the investigations. The Court held that there had been a violation of article 5(4). ‘In the Court’s opinion, it is hardly possible for an accused to challenge the reliability of such an account properly without being made aware of the evidence on which it is based.’ and ‘The Court acknowledges the need for criminal investigations to be conducted efficiently, which may imply that part of the information collected during them is to be kept secret in order to prevent suspects from tampering with evidence and undermining the course of justice. However, this legitimate goal cannot be pursued at the expense of substantial restrictions on the rights of the defence. Therefore, information which is essential for the assessment of the lawfulness of a detention should be made available in an appropriate manner to the suspect’s lawyer.’ The court referred to referred to ‘the dramatic impact of deprivation of liberty on the fundamental rights of the person concerned’.
23541/94, (2001) 37 EHRR 335, [2001] ECHR 86
Worldlii, Bailii
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedA v Secretary of State for the Home Department, and X v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Dec-2004
The applicants had been imprisoned and held without trial, being suspected of international terrorism. No criminal charges were intended to be brought. They were foreigners and free to return home if they wished, but feared for their lives if they . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board HL 7-Jul-2005
Balancing Rights of Prisoner and Society
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of three police officers in 1966. His tariff of thirty years had now long expired. He complained that material put before the Parole Board reviewing has case had not been disclosed to him.
Held: . .
CitedA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) HL 8-Dec-2005
The applicants had been detained following the issue of certificates issued by the respondent that they posed a terrorist threat. They challenged the decisions of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission saying that evidence underlying the . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v MB; Same v AF HL 31-Oct-2007
Non-derogating control orders – HR Compliant
MB and AF challenged non-derogating control orders made under the 2005 Act, saying that they were incompatible with their human rights. AF was subject to a curfew of 14 hours a day, wore an electronic tag at all times, could not leave a nine square . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 August 2021; Ref: scu.166032