European Court of Human Rights - case of Edwards and Lewis v. the United Kingdom (2003) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Edwards and Lewis v. the United Kingdom (2003) (excerpts)

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30.  In Looseley, their Lordships agreed that it was not possible to set out a comprehensive definition of unacceptable police conduct or “state created crime”. In each case it was for the judge, having regard to all the circumstances, to decide whether the conduct of the police or other law enforcement agency was so seriously improper as to bring the administration of justice into dispute. Factors to be taken into account included the nature of the offence, the reason for the particular police operation, the possibility of using other methods of detection and the nature and extent of police participation in the crime; the greater the inducement held out by the police, and the more forceful and persistent the police overtures, the more readily might a court conclude that the police had overstepped the boundary, since their conduct might well have brought about the commission of a crime by a person who would normally avoid crime of that kind. The police should act in good faith to uncover evidence of criminal acts which they reasonably suspected the accused was about to commit or was already engaged in committing, and the police operation should be properly supervised. The defendant's criminal record was unlikely to be relevant unless it could be linked to other factors grounding reasonable suspicion that he or she had been engaged in the criminal activity in question prior to the involvement of the police (per Lord Nicholls, §§ 26-29; Lord Hoffmann, §§ 50-71).

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59.  In these circumstances, the Court does not consider that the procedure employed to determine the issues of disclosure of evidence and entrapment complied with the requirements to provide adversarial proceedings and equality of arms and incorporated adequate safeguards to protect the interests of the accused. It follows that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 in this case.