The applicant, Mr. Cēsnieks, was summoned to a police station. The police officers used physical force against him in order to obtain a confession to a murder. As a result of the duress, Mr. Cēsnieks made a written confession. The national court found Mr. Cēsnieks guilty of murder.
Mr. Cēsnieks argued that his right to a fair trial had been violated as his guilt had been established on the basis of inadmissible evidence, namely statements obtained in breach of prohibition of ill-treatment and torture.
The Court pointed that its role is to determine whether the proceedings as a whole, including the way in which the evidence was obtained, were fair. It further stated that the admission of statements obtained as a result of torture or of other ill-treatment in breach of Article 3 as evidence to establish the relevant facts in criminal proceedings renders the proceedings as a whole unfair, even if the admission of such evidence was not decisive in securing a conviction. Since the fact that the police officers had ill-treated Mr. Cēsnieks to obtain his confession was not disputed, the Court ruled that the use of these statements rendered the trial as a whole unfair. Thus it found a violation of the right to a fair trial.