" ... the defendant must not be placed in the position where he is effectively deprived of a real chance of defending himself by being unable to challenge the case against him. Trial proceedings must ensure that a defendant’s Article 6 rights are not unacceptably restricted and that he or she remains able to participate effectively in the proceedings. ... The Court’s assessment of whether a criminal trial has been fair cannot depend solely on whether the evidence against the accused appears prima facie to be reliable, if there are no means of challenging that evidence once it is admitted."
"Also, in cases concerning the withholding of evidence from the defence in order to protect police sources, the Court has left it to the domestic courts to decide whether the rights of the defence should cede to the public interest and has confined itself to verifying whether the procedures followed by the judicial authorities sufficiently counterbalance the limitations on the defence with appropriate safeguards. The fact that certain evidence was not made available to the defence was not considered automatically to lead to a violation of Article 6 § 1 (see, for example,Rowe and Davis v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 28901/95, ECHR 2000 II). Similarly, in the case of Salduz, cited above, § 50, the Court reiterated that the right to legal assistance, set out in Article 6 § 3 (c) was one element, amongst others, of the concept of a fair trial in criminal proceedings contained in Article 6 § 1."
"... The question in each case is whether there are sufficient counterbalancing factors in place, including measures that permit a fair and proper assessment of the reliability of that evidence to take place. This would permit a conviction to be based on such evidence only if it is sufficiently reliable given its importance in the case."
"While we understand the nature of the challenges faced by the prosecution when key witnesses die or refuse to appear at trial out of genuine fear, the protections guaranteed by Article 6 speak only to the rights of the defence, not to the plight of witnesses or the prosecution. The task of this Court is to protect the accused precisely when the Government limit rights under the Convention in order to bolster the State’s own position at trial. Counterbalancing procedures may, when strictly necessary, allow the Government flexibility in satisfying the demands of Article 6 § 3 (d). Our evolving application of the sole or decisive test, however, shows that this exception to the general requirement of confrontation is not itself without limits in principle. In the end, it is the job of the Government to support their case with non-hearsay corroborating evidence. Failure to do so leaves the Government open to serious questions about the adequacy of their procedures and violates the State’s obligations under Article 6 § 1 in conjunction with Article 6 § 3 (d)."
"We would be on a slippery slope as a society if on a supposed balancing of the interests of the State against those of the individual accused the Courts were by judicial rule to allow limitations on the defence in raising matters properly relevant to an issue in the trial. Today the claim is that the name of the witness need not be given: tomorrow, and by the same logic, it will be that the risk of physical identification of the witness must be eliminated in the interests of justice in the detection and prosecution of crime, either by allowing the witness to testify with anonymity, for example from behind a screen, in which case his demeanour could not be observed, or by removing the accused from the Court, or both. The right to confront an adverse witness is basic to any civilised notion of a fair trial. That must include the right for the defence to ascertain the true identity of an accuser where questions of credibility are in issue."