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Boyle v. United Kingdom
European Court of Human Rights
47 Eur. Hum. Rgt. Rptr. 19 (2008)
John Boyle (defendant) and two other soldiers in the British Army were accused of rape. The commander of Boyle’s unit charged Boyle and referred his case to a higher authority. Under the applicable rules, the higher authority could still remand the case back to the commander for prosecution at a later time. The unit commander then ordered Boyle held on close arrest, i.e., detainment in a locked facility, pending trial. Boyle was detained in a military correctional facility for the next two months without being given an attorney or documents showing the reasons for his continued detainment. Boyle’s family finally hired a private attorney who pushed for Boyle’s release into open arrest, i.e., a release back into a military unit, until his trial. Approximately one month later, the correctional-facility commander released Boyle into a military unit pending trial. Boyle and his codefendants were tried two months later and were acquitted of the charges. Boyle brought charges alleging that his pretrial detainment violated the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, more commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights (convention). Specifically, Boyle alleged a violation of Article 5, § 3 of the convention on the grounds that his unit commander had not been sufficiently impartial to make the judicial decision to order the close arrest. Boyle argued that the unit commander could not have been impartial because the commander (1) had a prosecutorial role in the case and (2) had been responsible for discipline in Boyle’s unit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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