(Application no. 56308/00)
10 August 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 Toshev v. Bulgaria,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr P. Lorenzen, President,
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr V. Butkevych,
Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska,
Mr J. Borrego Borrego,
Mrs R. Jaeger, judges,
and Mrs C. Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 10 July 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
3. The Bulgarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms M. Kotzeva, of the Ministry of Justice.
4. On 15 November 2004 the Court decided to communicate the application to the Government. Under the provisions of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention, it decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility.
6. On 1 April 2006 this case was assigned to the newly constituted Fifth Section (Rule 25 § 5 and Rule 52 § 1).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. The criminal proceedings against the applicant
1. The preliminary investigation
2. The proceedings before the Sofia City Court
3. The remittance of the case to the investigation stage
B. The applicant’s detention
1. The first period of remand in custody
2. The second period of remand in custody
(a) Detention between 8 March 1994 and 3 August 1998
(b) Detention following the decision to release the applicant on bail
“there [is] no instance, which [could] quash or amend [its previous] decision”.
(c) The applicant’s release
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
A. Legal regime of detention before 1 January 2000
B. Measures securing a defendant’s appearance in court and the judicial control of such measures
“2. In setting the bail, account has to be taken of the financial status of the defendant.
5. When the measure for securing [a person’s appearance in court] is amended from a more [restrictive] one to bail, the [person] shall be released following provision of recognisance.”
C. Statutory maximum period of detention
“... remand in custody at the preliminary investigation [phase] cannot exceed one year, [unless] the charges concern offences which envisage a sentence of more than fifteen-years’ imprisonment, life imprisonment or death[, in which case it cannot] exceed two years.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF ARTICLE 5 §§ 1, 3 and 4 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”
A. Complaint under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention that the applicant was not brought promptly before a judge
B. Complaint under Article 5 § 1 (c) of the Convention that the applicant was detained unlawfully
C. Complaint under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention that the applicant’s detention was unjustified and unreasonably lengthy
1. Period to be taken into account
D. Complaint under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention that the applicant was unable to challenge the amount of the bail and, thereby, the continued lawfulness of his detention
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONVENTION CONCERNING THE LENGTH OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
A. The relevant period
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay to the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into Bulgarian levs at the rate applicable on the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 3,500 (three thousand five hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) in respect of costs and expenses;
(iii) any tax that may be chargeable on the above amounts;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 10 August 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen