Prisoner / Detainee Rights to Access Information in Spain | By Candela Estevez
Author: Candela Estevez
In a judgement of the 20th of February 2023, the Spanish Constitutional Court held that the right to secure protection of law and the right to liberty will be infringed when a detainee/prisoner (and/or their lawyer) are not allowed access to evidence in manner that would allow them to challenge a remand in custody.
In this way, and in accordance with previous pronouncements, the Court considers that the right to liberty is violated since judicial control of detention pending trial to avoid arbitrary arrests will be hindered. Moreover, it interferes with the preparation of a defence and respect for the principle of equality of arms.
In addition, with this last Judgment, the Constitutional Court not only confirms that the guarantee of information and access constitutes a right that is not subject to temporary restriction by any principles of secrecy, but rather that the interests of the accused will supersede any requirement for maintaining secrecy.
Even where there are any secrecy implications, the prisoner or detainee must be given access to the essential materials relied upon by the prosecution so that they can test the veracity and consistency of that information and, where appropriate, to question it on an informed basis before the courts, relying for support on the part of the file recording the reasons used to keep a citizen in custody.
The level of access to information will depend on the progress of any given investigation. This right of access to information is not automatic but has to be claimed by the detainee or prisoner and / or their lawyer.
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Candela Estevez is a criminal lawyer in Madrid who has, over many years, collaborated in different matters with Charles Gomez & Co. Learn more about Candela Estevez here.