The European Court of Human Rights unanimously decided that proceedings which led to the conviction of the applicant for drug trafficking offences did not infringe Article 6. This was despite the fact that the applicant was unable to cross-examine a key prosecution witness due to his refusal to attend court.
The facts were that Ben Butler had been convicted for the murder of his six year-old daughter Ellie in June 2016. In June 2014 King J had been required to make findings of fact about the case by Sutton Children’s Services who wanted to make a decision on the future of Ellie’s younger sibling. Following his conviction, media organisations applied for the release of King J’s judgment in the family court.
In a matter concerning a road traffic claim, the Court of Appeal ruled that in deciding whether Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has been breached, it is necessary to scrutinise very carefully the proceedings as a whole.