ECtHR finds that articles 8 and 10 are not invoked in a Professor’s complaint against his criminal conviction

On 3rd April 2012, in Gillberg v Sweden, in a (final) Grand Chamber judgment, the European Court of Human Rights held that Article 8 on the right to respect for private and family life and Article 10 on the freedom of expression did not apply in the case. The applicant, Christopher Gillberg, a Swedish national, is a professor and Head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Gothenburg, where he headed research on hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorders in children. The research project entailed a confidentiality agreement with the parents and children involved, and the university’s ethics committee allegedly stipulated that sensitive information about participants would only be accessible to Mr Gillberg and his staff. After the university refused a sociological researcher and a paediatrician access to the research material, the Administrative Court of Appeal determined that they should be granted access, with some limitations. However, Mr Gillberg still refused to allow access, and his colleagues eventually destroyed the research material. The Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman convicted Mr Gillberg of misuse of office, and he was fined and given a suspended sentence. The Court of Appeal upheld his conviction, and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused. Mr Gillberg complained that his criminal conviction breached his ECHR rights, but the Court found that his conviction did not fall within the scope of Articles 8 and 10.


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