The defendant appealed a conviction after the non attendance of a witness.
Held: The court was prepared to assume that the witness had not been kept away by fear, but ruled that the statement was admissible. However: ‘We cannot leave this case without sound a word of caution. The reference in Luca to the not infrequent occurrence of the phenomenon of frightened witnesses being unwilling to give evidence in trials concerning Mafia-type organisations is echoed across a wider range of serious crime in this country. Counsel both confirmed that this problem was becoming commonplace and the experience of the members of this Court concerned with the conduct of criminal trials is likewise. Inevitably, applications under section 23 will follow but this judgment should not be read as a licence for prosecutors. Very great care must be taken in each and every case to ensure that attention is paid to the letter and spirit of the Convention and judges should not easily be persuaded that it is in the interests of justice to permit evidence to be read. Where that witness provides the sole or determinative evidence against the accused, permitting it to be read may well, depending on the circumstances, jeopardise infringing the defendant’s Article 6(3)(d) rights; even it is not the only evidence, care must be taken to ensure that the ultimate aim of each and every trial, namely, a fair hearing, is achieved.’
Hooper LJ, Leveson, Mettyear JJ
 EWCA (Crim) 1293
England and Wales
Cited – Luca v Italy ECHR 27-Feb-2001
The accused had been convicted. After exercising his right to silence, there were read to the court accounts of statements made by co-accused but without an opportunity for him to cross examine the witnesses.
Held: Saunders had established the . .
Approved – Sellick and Sellick, Regina v CACD 14-Mar-2005
The defendants appealed convictions for murder saying that the court had had read to it the statements of four witnesses who refused to attend for fear, having been intimidated. Other witnesses had been unco-operative and had been treated by the . .
Cited – Grant v The Queen PC 16-Jan-2006
(Jamaica) The defendant appealed his conviction for murder saying that the admission of an unsworn statement by one witness and the non-admission of another similar statement who did not either attend court was unconstitutional. He shot the victim . .
Cited – Regina v Davis HL 18-Jun-2008
The defendant had been tried for the murder of two men by shooting them at a party. He was identified as the murderer by three witnesses who had been permitted to give evidence anonymously, from behind screens, because they had refused, out of fear, . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 January 2021; Ref: scu.224308