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 prosecution as hostile.
Held: The appeal failed. The appellants’ rights under Article 6 were in no way infringed. The convictions were safe.
Waller LJ summarised the ECHR jurispridence: ‘What appears from the above authorities are the following propositions. (i) The admissibility of evidence is primarily for the national law. (ii) Evidence must normally be produced at a public hearing and as a general rule article 6(1) and (3)(d) of the Convention require a defendant to be given a proper and adequate opportunity to challenge and question witnesses. (iii) It is not necessarily incompatible with article 6(1) and (3)(d) of the Convention for depositions to be read and that can be so even if there has been no opportunity to question the witness at any stage of the proceedings. Article 6(3)(d) is simply an illustration of matters to be taken into account in considering whether a fair trial has been held. The reasons for the court holding it necessary that statements should be read and the procedures to counterbalance any handicap to the defence will all be relevant to the issue, whether, where statements have been read, the trial was fair. (iv) The quality of the evidence and its inherent reliability, plus the degree of caution exercised in relation to reliance on it, will also be relevant to the question whether the trial was fair.’


Waller LJ


[2005] 1 WLR 3257, [2005] EWCA Crim 651, Times 22-Mar-2005, [2005] 2 Cr App R 15




Criminal Justice Act 1988 23 26, European Convention on Human Rights 6


England and Wales


CitedRegina v KJ Martin CACD 20-Feb-2003
The defendant had been found unfit to plead on a charge of murder. Charges against the co-defendants were later reduced to inflicting grievous bodily harm, but when the defendant came to be dealt with, it was on the basis that the charge remained . .
CitedLuca 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 . .
CitedUnterpertinger v Austria ECHR 24-Nov-1986
The defendant was convicted of causing actual bodily harm, mainly on the basis of statements which his wife and daughter had given to the police. His wife and daughter took advantage of their right not to give evidence at his trial and so could not . .
CitedRegina v Gokal, Abas Kassimali CACD 1997
The defendant challenged admission of written statements saying that he would only be able to controvert the written statements if he gave evidence, and it was submitted that that would infringe his right to silence.
Held: There was no reason . .
CitedWindisch v Austria ECHR 27-Sep-1990
cs W was convicted of burglary on the evidence of a mother and daughter, who gave statements without their identity being revealed.
Held: The court recited various principles in the following terms:- ‘All . .
CitedKostovski v The Netherlands ECHR 20-Nov-1989
No Anonymity for Witnessses in Criminal Trial
K was convicted of armed robbery on the basis of statements of anonymous witnesses. He was unable to question those witnesses at any stage. Being unaware of the identity of the witnesses deprived K of the very particulars which would have enabled . .
CitedRegina v Cole CACD 1990
. .
CitedLudi v Switzerland ECHR 15-Jun-1992
The claimant challenged his conviction of a drug trafficking offence. The evidence against him consisted mainly of a report by an anonymous undercover agent and transcripts of telephone intercepts of calls between the agent and the applicant. . .
CitedSaidi v France ECHR 20-Sep-1993
S had been convicted on the basis of the evidence of drug addicts and in the situation where there was no opportunity to confront the witness.
Held: ‘The court reiterates that the taking of evidence is governed primarily by the rules of . .
CitedVan Mechelen And Others v The Netherlands ECHR 23-Apr-1997
A Dutch court had convicted the applicants of attempted manslaughter and robbery on the basis of statements made, before their trial, by anonymous police officers, none of whom gave evidence before the Regional Court or the investigating judge. The . .
ApprovedRegina v Arnold CACD 21-May-2004
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 . .

Cited by:

CitedAl-Khawaja v Regina CACD 3-Nov-2005
The defendant had been tried for indecent assaults. The complainant having died before the trial, the judge had ruled that her written statements were admissible. The defendant said he had not had a fair trial.
Held: The appeal failed. The . .
CitedGrant 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 . .
CitedRaja v Van Hoogstraten and others ChD 12-Jun-2006
The claimant sought the strike out of the defendants pleadings. The first defendant was found to have been responsible for the killing of the deceased. The proceedings had been prolonged by procedural challenges by the defendant.
Held: The . .
CitedRegina v Davis (Iain); Regina v Ellis, Regina v Gregory, Regina v Simms, Regina v Martin CACD 19-May-2006
The several defendants complained at the use at their trials of evidence given anonymously. The perceived need for anonymity arose because, from intimidation, the witnesses would not be willing to give their evidence without it.
Held: The . .
CitedRegina 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, . .
DistinguishedAl-Khawaja v The United Kingdom; Tahery v The United Kingdom ECHR 20-Jan-2009
Each complainant said that in allowing hearsay evidence to be used against them at their trials, their article 6 human rights had been infringed. In the first case the complainant had died before trial but her statement was admitted.
Held: In . .
CitedHorncastle and Others, Regina v SC 9-Dec-2009
Each defendant said they had not received a fair trial in that the court had admitted written evidence of a witness he had not been allowed to challenge. The witnesses had been victims, two of whom had died before trial. It was suggested that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence, Human Rights

Updated: 29 June 2022; Ref: scu.223899