The Polish government admits violating the rights of a man with learning difficulties by refusing to rely upon his evidence in court

16.01.17 | |


M.P v Poland (application 20416/13)


The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has published its decision in M.P v Poland, a case concerning allegations of serious violations of the applicant's rights under article 3 of the ECHR. Within the decision it is recorded that the Polish government has made a unilateral admission of violating the article 3 rights of a vulnerable man with learning difficulties, who was the victim of a rape.


In 2010, the defendant in the related domestic criminal proceedings was found guilty but preceded to appeal the ruling, arguing that M.P’s evidence couldn’t be accepted due to his disability, which resulted in a retrial.

During the retrial, a new expert said that M.P's evidence should not be relied upon due to his intellectual disability. The court accepted this, resulting in the accused being released and charges against him dropped. It was argued that people with disabilities must “not [be] excluded from the protection of the justice system” through discriminatory rules of evidence and that the Polish courts were wrong to refuse her son’s evidence, and that the decision was discriminatory on the basis of his intellectual disability. 

Before the ECtHR the Polish government has made a unilateral declaration admitting to the violation of article 3 and awarded the applicant compensation.

Louise Price was instructed Mental Disability Advocacy Centre on the case before the ECtHR. 

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