TWALIB v. GREECE (42/1997/826/1032) 9 June 1998: lack of adequate time and facilities for preparation of defence during criminal trial and absence of legal aid in cassation proceedings

Greece – lack of adequate time and facilities for preparation of defence during criminal trial and absence of legal aid in cassation proceedings

III. ARTICLE 6 1 AND 3 (B) OF THE CONVENTION

Applicant assigned lawyer representing co-accused – lawyer afforded very limited time to consult case file and prepare defence despite seriousness of offence and complexity of case – in view of applicant’s submission that there was conflict of interest between him and co-accused, brevity of period of preparation can hardly be defended on basis of argument that lawyer familiar with case – therefore serious shortcomings in fairness of trial proceedings.

However, applicant represented by different lawyer before court of appeal challenged his conviction and sentence – court of appeal empowered to examine questions of fact and law and to quash impugned judgment – applicant’s lawyer did not contend on appeal that conviction was unsafe and that retrial should be ordered – no clear indication that appeal court could assume that there had been defect in first instance proceedings without being alerted to matter.

Court of appeal reached conclusion after hearing at which applicant and his counsel were present – applicant had opportunity to raise alleged deficiency at appeal hearing – nothing to suggest that fairness of appeal proceedings could be called into question.

Conclusion: no violation (six votes to three).

IV. ARTICLE 6 1 AND 3 (C) OF THE CONVENTION

Reiteration of case-law on right to fair trial.

Court satisfied on facts that applicant was indigent and required legal aid in connection with cassation proceedings – furthermore, interests of justice required he be granted legal aid in view of seriousness of offence and severity of sentence as well as complexity of cassation procedure – applicant of foreign origin and unfamiliar with Greek language and legal system – Greek law however made no provision for grant of legal aid in cassation proceedings.

Conclusion: preliminary objection dismissed; violation (unanimously).

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