Immediate custodial sentences could be appropriate for non-violent crimes committed as part of a peaceful protest and such sentences did not breach ECHR art.10. In the instant case, however, the immediate custodial sentences imposed on three protesters who had sat on the cabs of lorries delivering equipment to a fracking site were manifestly excessive. Community orders with a significant requirement for unpaid work would have been appropriate.
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.246A, which limited the eligibility of prisoners serving extended determinate sentences to consideration of parole at the two-third stage of the custodial element of their sentence, was compatible with ECHR art.14 taken in conjunction with art.5. Although the different treatment of such prisoners when compared to those serving indeterminate or other determinate sentences constituted a ground within the meaning of “other status” in art.14, the situations were not analogous and, even if they were, there was an objective justification for the difference in treatment.
There was sufficient concern about Polish judicial independence that persons requested by Poland under European arrest warrants should have the opportunity to advance reasons why they might have an exceptional case requiring an individual assessment to see whether there were substantial grounds for believing that they individually ran a real risk of a breach of their rights to a fair trial, under the test set out in Minister for Justice and Equality v LM (C-216/18 PPU) EU:C:2018:586. Those sought for ordinary criminal offences, with no political or sensitive content, seemed unlikely to be able to establish that risk.
A district judge considering an extradition request had erred in the ECHR art.8 balancing exercise when considering the seriousness of the requested person’s offence. He had been convicted of facilitating unauthorised entry and residence, not human trafficking, and had been offered a non-custodial alternative sentence, showing that the requesting state did not consider the offence to be that serious. Coupled with the nine-year delay between arrest and trial, extradition would disproportionately interfere with his art.8 rights.
Lithuania had given a sufficient assurance that the appellant, whose extradition had been ordered pursuant to an accusation warrant, would not face a real risk of treatment contrary to ECHR art.3 if held in a particular remand prison.