by Dariusz PSZENNY
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 13 October 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 14 December 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Dariusz Pszenny, is a Polish national who was born in 1967 and lives in Gdańsk. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr J. Wołąsiewicz of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 18 October 2006 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. On the same day the Gdańsk District Court remanded him in custody, relying on the reasonable suspicion that he had committed the offences in question. The court indicated that the evidence gathered in the case showed that there was a sufficient probability that the applicant had committed the offences with which he had been charged. It attached importance to the likelihood of a severe sentence of imprisonment being imposed on the applicant and the risk that he would attempt to obstruct the proceedings.
An appeal by the applicant against the detention order, and likewise his further appeals against some of the decisions extending his detention and all his subsequent applications for release and appeals against refusals to release him were unsuccessful. In his applications and appeals, he argued that his lengthy detention violated the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the imposition of this measure.
In the course of investigation, the applicant’s detention was extended on 11 January and 12 April 2007. In their decisions the authorities relied on the original grounds given for the applicant’s detention. The courts also stressed that, due to the complexity of the case, the investigation had still not been completed. The courts further underlined the unique nature of proceedings involving drug-trafficking which often took more time since offences and suspects emerged gradually.
On 15 June 2007 a bill of indictment was filed with the Gdańsk Regional Court.
On 5 October 2007 the trial court asked the Gdańsk Regional Prosecutor to complete some procedural shortcomings in the bill of indictment.
On 16 October 2007 a completed bill of indictment was lodged with the Gdańsk Regional Court. The applicant was charged with drug trafficking.
During the proceedings the courts further extended the applicant’s detention pending trial on several occasions, namely on 21 June 2007, 14 October and 9 December 2008. The courts repeated the grounds previously given for the applicant’s continued detention. They attached importance to the likelihood of a severe sentence of imprisonment being imposed on him and the risk that he would obstruct the proceedings.
On 16 December 2007 the trial court held the first hearing.
The criminal proceedings against the applicant are currently pending and as it appears he is still being detained.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
The relevant domestic law and practice concerning the imposition of pre trial detention on remand (aresztowanie tymczasowe), the grounds for its extension, release from detention and rules governing others, so-called “preventive measures” (środki zapobiegawcze) are set out in the Court’s judgments in the cases of Gołek v. Poland (no. 31330/02, §§ 27-33, 25 April 2006) and Celejewski v. Poland (no. 17584/04, §§ 22-23, 4 August 2006).
The applicant complained under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention of the unreasonable length of his pre-trial detention and under Article 6 of the Convention about the excessive length of the criminal proceedings pending against him.
On 16 July 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Jakub Wołąsiewicz, Agent of the Government, declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 6,750 (six thousand seven hundred and fifty Polish zlotys) to Mr Dariusz Pszenny with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.”
On 27 July 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Dariusz Pszenny, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 6,750 (six thousand seven hundred and fifty Polish zlotys) with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. From the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.
I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Poland in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza