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Atlan v. The United Kingdom

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image of Human Rights Case Digest

Article 6, Section 1 required in principle that the prosecution authorities should disclose to the defence all material evidence in their possession for or against the accused. However, in some cases it might be necessary to withhold certain evidence so as to preserve the fundamental rights of another individual (such as an informer whose life might be in danger) or to safeguard an important public interest (such as the need to keep secret police methods of investigation). Such non-disclosure would be acceptable under Article 6 only where strictly necessary and only where any difficulties caused to the defence were sufficiently counterbalanced by the procedures followed by the courts. The trial judge is best placed to decide whether or not the non-disclosure of public interest immunity evidence would be unfairly prejudicial to the defence.


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