The Crown Court had a discretion to commence a trial in the absence of a defendant. That discretion was not inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.
ABSENCE OF DEFENDANT
H appealed against his conviction for smuggling, J appealed against his conviction for robbery and P sought leave to appeal against his conviction for deception. They had all been convicted in their absence and it was contended that the judge in each case had erred by permitting the trials to proceed. Following a review of English and European authorities, the court set out the principles to be applied in such cases and held that, unlike the procedures adopted in J and P’s trials, the correct principles had not been applied in H’s case with the result that his conviction would be quashed.