Can a trial be fair without full disclosure?
In the case of McKeown v United Kingdom  All ER (D) 65 (Jan) the ECHR has ruled there was no violation of Article 6(1) where an applicant alleged his trial for terrorism related offences was unfair as a result of non-disclosure of prosecution papers. Matthew Stanbury of GCN was interviewed for Lexis Nexis Current Awareness (published 20.1.11) about the issues raised by the case.
Extracts from the article as follows:
...[ Matthew] Stanbury says: âFor the reasons it had given, the Court did not consider there were any ...deficiencies [in the disclosure regimne] in the course of the applicant's trial. Consequently, the fact the Court of Appeal did not examine the undisclosed material did not in itself amount to a violation of art 6(1). Moreover, the Court accepted the government's submission that the applicant did not invite the Court of Appeal to examine the material and thus the Court of Appeal cannot be criticised for failing to consider the undisclosed material of its own motion.â
As for the need for further legal clarification, Stanbury says: âThe judgment further legitimises well-established Public Interest Immunity (PII) procedures and it seems unlikely any significant reform in this area will be favourable to defendants. ...He adds the judgment is perhaps a reminder to ensure defence statements are adequate in cases likely to involve PII applications. In addition, practitioners will note it is, he says, âa clear warning to all that should these issues arise at appellate level it is important to be vigilant. Failure to request the material be reviewed could be considered to be a significant omission and jeopardise the prospects of that and any future appealâ.