Person detained under Terrorism Act 2000, Sch 7 was entitled to have a solicitor during interview


Re: Elosta v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis & Ors [2013] EWHC 3397 (QB)

Concerned whether a person detained for examination under the Terrorism Act 2000, Sch 7 was entitled to have a solicitor present to advise them during the interview.

Held: as a detainee under the Terrorism Act 2000, Sch 7 the claimant had a right to consult a solicitor before being interviewed. The wording of the Notice of Detention was that the detainee may consult a solicitor privately “in person, in writing or on the telephone”, a right which may be exercised at any time and may be exercised repeatedly. If the solicitor attends in person he may be present during the interview. A reasonable delay to await the arrival of a solicitor may be required, but the detainee was not entitled to exercise that right in such a way as to frustrate the proper purpose of the examination. A solicitor does have a useful, if limited, role of play. The examining officers had no power to question the claimant after he had requested the presence of a solicitor and prior to the solicitor’s arrival. However, this did not make his detention unlawful and therefore there was no breach of ECHR, art 5(1)(b). The claimant was entitled to a declaration that the refusal of the defendant’s officers to await the arrival of his solicitor after he was detained and before putting further questions to him was, in the circumstances, unlawful.

Danny Friedman QC and Daniel Squires were involved in this case.