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Mattoccia v. Italy

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image of Human Rights Case Digest

Accused must be made aware “promptly” and “in detail” of the cause of the accusation, i.e. the material facts alleged against him which are the basis of the accusation, and of the nature of the accusation, i.e. the legal qualification of these material facts. While the extent of the “detailed” information varies depending on the particular circumstances of each case, the accused must at any rate be provided with sufficient information as is necessary to understand fully the extent of the charges against him with a view to preparing an adequate defence. In particular, even though the applicant could have sought access in due time to the prosecution file which contained all the available information on the accusation, this did not dispense the prosecution from complying with the obligation to inform the accused promptly and in detail of the full accusation against him. This duty rests entirely with the prosecuting authorities and cannot be complied with passively by making information available without bringing this to the attention of the defence. Moreover, in this case the time and place of an alleged rape was changed three times, the last instance being at the trial itself without allowing the applicant adequate time to respond or produce alibi witnesses.


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