Mennen v the Netherlands, UN Human Rights Committee (2008)

Mennen v the Netherlands, Human Rights Committee Communication 1797/2008

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8.2 As to the author’s claim that he has not been able to exercise his right to appeal under article 14, paragraph 5, in an effective and meaningful way, since he did not have access to a duly reasoned, written judgment of the trial court and to other documents such as trial transcripts, the Committee notes that the State party confirmed that in the present case no such document had been produced. The Committee notes the State party’s submission that the author’s counsel was provided with a number of official police reports on the case prior to his application for leave to appeal, without specifying their content and relevance to the verdict. The Committee, however, observes that these reports could not have provided guidance as to the motivation of the first instance court in convicting the author of a criminal offence, nor indication on what particular evidence the court had relied. The Committee recalls its established practice that in appellate proceedings guarantees of a fair trial are to be observed, including the right to have adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence.8 In the circumstances of the instant case, the Committee does not consider that the reports provided, in the absence of a motivated judgment, a trial transcript or even a list of the evidence used, constituted adequate facilities for the preparation of the author’s defence.