Dvorski v. Croatia: Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance of Own Choosing?

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The case of Dvorski v. Croatia involves a Croatian national and his claims of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3(c) violations. The applicant is Ivan Dvorski, a Croatian national, born in 1986 and lives in Rijeka. On December 13, 2007, Dvorski was arrested. Then in December 2009, Dvorski was convicted of aggravated murder, armed robbery and arson. He was given a sentencd of 40 years of imprisonment. On November 28, 2013, Dvorski, however, brought a case claiming unfair criminal proceedings. He claimed Article 6 §§ 1 and 3(c)of the European Convention on Human Rights violations, which are right to a fair trial and right to legal assistance of own choosing. Dvorski claims that after his arrest by the police on December 13, 2007, the police had essentially denied him access to the lawyer that his parents had hired to represent him in the matter. As a result, Dvorski had to accept representation from a lawyer picked by the police. Dvorski further claims that due to his lack of a choice in representation he was not adequately advised during his coercive police questioning where he ended up incriminating himself. The Court found that there were no violations of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3(c). The Court reasoned that despite Dvorski not being able to choose his own lawyer he was given effective representation. In addition, the trial court gave him ample opportunity to participate in the proceedings and put forth his arguments. Finally, the Court notes that Dvorski’s confession was not even the focal point of the prosecution’s case.

This case has been referred to the Grand Chamber and the Court will be holding a hearing in this case on January 21, 2015.

What do you think about this case? Does Dvorski really have a case here? Has he been denied a fair trial because he could not choose his own lawyer? How do you think the Court will rule on this case?

 

 

Source: ECHR

Image: Yahoo

One comment

  1. I believe that this is an unusual case, at least here in the United States, because in the U.S. plaintiffs and defendants are able to choose which attorney they want to represent them if they have the money to retain an attorney. The facts are not so clear in this case, but it seems as though Dvorski’s parents had the means to hire an attorney for their son, and did in fact hire one to represent him in his criminal case, but his access to this attorney was denied for seemingly wrongful reasons. I believe that under these circumstances Dvorski does have a case because he should have been granted access to the attorney his parents hired, instead of being forced into using an attorney the police coerced him into taking. Even if he was given effective representation, I do not believe that it was right that he was coerced into a client-lawyer relationship by the police.

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