The procedure laid down by s.4A Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 was compatible with the rights of an accused person under Art.6 European Convention on Human Rights.Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal that the procedure under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 by which a jury found the defendant ('H') unfit to plead on charges of indecent assault but a second jury found that he had done the acts alleged against him, was not incompatible with Art.6 European Convention on Human Rights. H was charged with two offences of indecent assault on a 14-year-old girl. At the time of the alleged offences H was 13 years old. A jury found that H was unfit to plead under s.4 Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 and a second jury found that he had done the acts alleged against him under s.4A. H was absolutely discharged but directed to be registered as a sex offender. The Court of Appeal dismissed H's appeal against the finding of the second jury, rejecting his argument that the procedure followed was incompatible with Art.6 European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal certified that the point of law was one of general public importance and the House of Lords gave leave to appeal on that issue.HELD: The s.4A procedure did not have to meet the requirements of Art.6(2) and (3) European Convention on Human Rights because it did not involve the determination of a criminal charge. Applying the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Engel & Ors v The Netherlands (1976) 1 EHRR 647 it was clear that: (i) domestic law did not treat the s.4A procedure as involving the determination of a criminal charge; (ii) the s.4A procedure lacked the essential features of criminal process as identified in Customs & Excise Commissioners v City of London Magistrates' Court & 4 Ors (2000) 1 WLR 2020; and (iii) the procedure could not be criminal because it could not result in the imposition of any penalty. The answer to the certified question was that the s.4A procedure was compatible with the rights of an accused person under Art.6 of the Convention.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] UKHL 1

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