AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
by Piotr KRZOS
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 10 November 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application, lodged on 8 September 2006,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Piotr Krzos, is a Polish national who was born in 1959 and lives in Wroclaw. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr J. Wołąsiewicz of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
1. The applicant’s pre-trial detention
The applicant was arrested by the police in Wrocław on 14 April 2004. On 17 April 2004 the Łódź-Widzew District Court remanded him in custody on suspicion of murder and forgery. The court found that, if released, the applicant could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses. It further noted that he was wanted in connection with other crimes and had changed his place of residence several times.
Between 14 April 2004 and 15 October 2006 the applicant was serving a prison sentence imposed in criminal proceedings before the Ostrołeka District Court.
The applicant’s detention was subsequently extended by the Łódź Regional Court on 6 July and 5 October 2004 and on 4 January and 24 March 2005.
On 18 August 2005 the Łódź Court of Appeal extended the applicant’s detention until 30 November 2005.
On 16 November 2005 the prosecution service filed a bill of indictment with the Łódź Regional Court. The applicant was charged with murder, among other offences.
Between 29 November 2005 and 22 November 2006 the applicant’s detention was extended on four occasions.
On 15 October 2006 the applicant began serving a five-year term of imprisonment imposed on him in another set of proceedings (before the Bydgoszcz District Court).
On 11 April, 26 June and 2 September 2007 the Regional Court again extended the applicant’s detention.
The applicant unsuccessfully appealed against numerous decisions extending his detention.
On 8 December 2008 the Regional Court gave judgment convicting the applicant as charged. The applicant was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment. The court also extended the applicant’s detention.
On 3 July 2009 the applicant’s lawyer appealed.
It appears that the criminal proceedings against the applicant are still pending.
2. The alleged ill-treatment of the applicant
On 14 April 2004 the applicant was arrested at his home in Wrocław by four police officers. He submits that he was severely beaten and did not receive medical assistance when he arrived at the police station. He claims that he sustained injuries to his head and spine. The incident was witnessed by members of his family, who were traumatised as a result.
On 25 April 2004 the applicant filed a criminal complaint against the police officers, alleging that they had ill-treated him during his arrest.
On 30 March 2005 the Wrocław Stare Miasto District Prosecutor discontinued the investigation into the applicant’s allegations of an abuse of power by the police officers causing him injuries. The prosecutor held that there was insufficient evidence to support the applicant’s assertion that the police officers had committed an offence.
It appears that the applicant did not appeal against that decision.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
The relevant domestic law and practice concerning the imposition of pre trial detention (aresztowanie tymczasowe), the grounds for its extension, release from detention, and the rules governing other “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.
“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.”
The Government disputed this argument with reference to the facts of the case.
The Court observes that the applicant’s detention started on 14 April 2004, when he was arrested on suspicion of murder, and ended on 8 December 2008 when he was convicted by the first-instance court. However, it appears from the documents submitted at a later stage that since that date the applicant has been continuously serving two terms of imprisonment imposed in different sets of criminal proceedings. Consequently, the Court considers that the applicant was deprived of his liberty “after conviction by a competent court” and that the whole period of his detention is covered by Article 5 § 1 (a) of the Convention and falls outside the scope of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.
It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
In the light of the material in its possession the Court finds no indication that the applicant was arrested and detained other than on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence, as required by Article 5 § 1 (c). The Court is satisfied that the applicant’s deprivation of liberty met all the conditions for detention under Article 5 § 1 (c) of the Convention. Furthermore, the complaint under Article 7 is entirely unsubstantiated.
It follows that these complaints are therefore manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention
In this connection, the Court observes that the applicant failed to appeal against the decision to discontinue the criminal proceedings against the police officers. In addition, he did not institute any proceedings in relation to these complaints.
It follows that this complaint must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.
However, under Article 35 § 1 of the Convention the Court may only deal with the matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.
In view of the above, this complaint must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza