(Application no. 30279/07)
9 June 2009
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 Matoń v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 19 May 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
1. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
2. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNREASONABLE LENGTH OF THE PROCEEDINGS
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
1. The parties' submissions
18. The Government underlined that the case had been extremely complex. It had concerned an organised criminal group and 56 charges brought against 36 defendants. In 2008 the case-file comprised 187 volumes. They relied on the volume of evidence obtained by the prosecuting authorities and on the difficulties in conducting the investigation, given the considerable number of defendants, as well as the serious nature of the offences committed by the criminal gang.
21. The Government submitted that the domestic court had taken measures to discipline the defendants and their defence counsel who had failed to comply with the court's orders. Consequently, the Government maintained that there had been no delays in the proceedings for which the authorities could be held responsible. They concluded that there had been no violation of Article 6 § 1 in the present case.
22. The applicant disagreed with the Government. He submitted that he had not contributed to the prolongation of the proceedings. The applicant argued that his case could not be considered complex simply on account of the significant volume of evidence. He maintained that his case should have been examined separately as it had not been complex and charges against him had been based only on testimonies of two crown witnesses. Finally, he submitted that the case had been examined with delays. As a result, he had been held in custody for four years.
2. The Court's assessment
II. 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 the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 2,900 (two thousand nine hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that 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.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 9 June 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza