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Voice of reason

Victims of crime have the right to express an opinion during proceedings, but the ECJ was right to rule against allowing them to have a decisive voice, says Paul Stanley

27 September 2011

It is a measure of how far the European Union has developed that the European Court of Justice should find itself discussing the remedies imposed by criminal courts in domestic violence cases. But so it was in joined cases C-483/09 and C-1/10 Gueye (Fourth Chamber, 15 September 2011).

The case originated in Spain. Spanish law provided that where a person was convicted of a crime involving certain sorts of domestic violence, the sentencing court was obliged to impose (apart from any other penalty) an injunction prohibiting the offender from having contact with the victim for some period of time. Two defendants, convicted of assault, duly had such injunctions imposed upon them. But, in breach of the injunction, they started living with their victims again. This was something that the victims agreed to, and indeed wanted to happen. But the defendants were charged with breaching the orders that had been imposed upon them.

One can well see that the case might have raised issu...

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