(Application no. 18368/02)
28 November 2006
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Buta v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr M. Pellonpää,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr L. Garlicki,
Ms L. Mijović,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
and Mr T.L. Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 7 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
21. On 6 September 2005 the Wałcz District Court found the applicant guilty of three of the four robberies with which he had been charged and one of the two kidnappings and acquitted him of the charge of drug trafficking. The applicant was sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be ... entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”
25. The Court reiterates that it is well established in its case-law that an applicant must make normal use of those domestic remedies which are likely to be effective and sufficient. When a remedy has been attempted, use of another remedy which has essentially the same objective is not required (see Yaşa v. Turkey judgment of 2 September 1998, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1998-VI, § 71).
1. Principles established under the Court’s case-law
2. Application of the principles to the circumstances of the present case
It is to be recalled that the applicant was charged with a crime committed against a witness who had refused to testify in his favour in another set of proceedings. It must be noted that the domestic courts in ordering the prolongation of the applicant’s remand addressed themselves to the continuing need for that measure and did not merely rely on the grounds previously given. In this connection, the Court notes that the domestic courts gave due consideration to the use of less severe preventive measures (for example, police supervision) but were not persuaded that such measures were appropriate in the circumstance of the applicant’s case (see paragraphs 13 and 14 above).
The Court finally notes that there were no significant periods of inactivity on the part of the prosecution authorities and the trial court. It observes that the investigations were completed by the Regional Prosecutor within a relatively short period of time and the trial court held hearings at regular intervals. For these reasons, it considers that the domestic authorities cannot be criticised for a failure to observe “special diligence” in the handling of the applicant’s case.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
Done in English, and notified in writing on 28 November 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza