European Court of Human Rights - case of Cuscani v. the United Kingdom (2002) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Cuscani v. the United Kingdom (2002) (excerpts)

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39.  It is true that the conduct of the defence is essentially a matter between the defendant and his counsel, whether counsel be appointed under a legal aid scheme as in the applicant's case or be privately financed (see the Kamasinski v. Austria judgment of 19 December 1989, Series A no. 168, pp. 32-33, § 65; the Stanford v. the United Kingdom judgment of 23 February 1994, Series A 282-A, p. 11, § 28). However, the ultimate guardian of the fairness of the proceedings was the trial judge who had been clearly apprised of the real difficulties which the absence of interpretation might create for the applicant. It further observes that the domestic courts have already taken the view that in circumstances such as those in the instant case, judges are required to treat an accused's interest with “scrupulous care” (see paragraphs 32 and 33 above).