The applicant, Mr. Allan, was arrested on suspicion for having committed a robbery. He was later interviewed in connection with a murder and availed himself of his right to remain silent. Having failed at regular investigation methods the police bugged the applicant’s cell with audio and video technology. A police informant was placed in Mr. Allan’s cell who tried to make Mr. Allan confess in murder. Although Mr. Allan did not confess the evidence obtained by the police informant were used in Mr. Allan’s trial. Based on that evidence he was later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mr. Allan complained that the use of evidence gathered thought the recordings and statements of the police informant violated his right to fair trial.
The Court held that generally it is up to the national courts to decide on the admissibility of evidence. However, the right to remain silent and privilege against self-incrimination was at the heart of a fair procedure. The right not to incriminate oneself was primarily concerned with respecting the will of an accused person to remain silent and presupposed that the prosecution in a criminal case seeks to prove the case against the accused without resort to evidence obtained through methods of coercion or oppression in defiance of the will of the accused. Therefore to determine whether a procedure had extinguished the very essence of the privilege against self-incrimination the nature and degree of the compulsion, the existence of any relevant safeguards in the procedures and the use to which any material so obtained was put had to be examined. The court recognized that the right to silence is undermined if a person has chosen not to speak to police and the police still decides to obtain the statements of this person by tricking this person into speaking with someone else and uses these statements against him/her. In present case the informant was instructed by police to interrogate Mr. Allan and he was thus under constant pressure. There also were no safeguards against such interrogation therefore the information was obtained in defiance of the applicant’s will and its use violated his right to silence and privilege against self-incrimination.