SAUNDERS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (43/1994/490/572) 17 December 1996: Rights against self-incrimination: giving of statements under legal compulsion:
United Kingdom - use by prosecution at the applicant's trial of statements which he had given under legal compulsion during a statutory investigation into corporate fraud conducted by independent Inspectors (sections 432(2) and 436(3) of the Companies Act 1985)
I. Article 6 of the Convention
A. Article 6 § 1: the right not to incriminate oneself
Complaint confined to use of statements obtained by Inspectors during criminal proceedings against applicant. Article 6 § 1 not applicable to proceedings before Inspectors.
The right not to incriminate oneself lies at the heart of a fair procedure and applies to all types of criminal proceedings. It is primarily concerned with respecting the will of an accused person to remain silent.
Applicant had been legally compelled to give statements to Inspectors - whether or not there was an unjustifiable infringement of his right not to incriminate himself depends on the use made of those statements by the prosecution at trial, even if they were not self-incriminating.
Prosecution made extensive use of statements in a way which sought to incriminate the applicant - transcripts of statements read out to jury over a three day period - prosecution sought to use statements to establish applicant's dishonesty and to challenge his credibility. Accordingly, there was an infringement of the applicant's right not to incriminate himself.
Not necessary to determine whether the right is absolute or whether infringements may be justified in particular circumstances.
Conclusion: violation (sixteen votes to four)
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