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Those detained under Schedule 7 must be allowed to speak to a Solicitor in person

In another court case, Elosta v Chief Commissioner of the Metropolis [2013] EWHC 3397, the High Court in England held that a person detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 has the right to speak to a Solicitor in person before answering questions.

Mr Elosta arrived at Heathrow airport having been to Saudi Arabia. He was stopped by police officers who began to question him under Schedule 7. He provided his personal details, but asked to speak to a solicitor before answering further questions. He was permitted to speak to his solicitor by telephone, and she indicated that she would arrange for a solicitor to attend the airport. However, the police indicated that they would not wait for that solicitor to arrive before proceeding with questioning.

It held there was a right to speak to a Solicitor and that the individual detained has the right to decide how they communicate with a Solicitor, not the Police. Although the refusal to speak to a Solicitor before questioning began was illegal, his detention under Article 5 was legal. It was noted that if Police had waited for the Solicitor to arrive, he would have been detained for longer. In addition, the reason for his detention – to fulfill his obligation to answer questions – was still valid.

Criminal Law