The ECHR judgment of March 14, 2019 in the case of Kangers v. Latvia (аpplication No. 35726/10).
In 2010, the applicant was assisted in preparing аpplications. Subsequently, the аpplications were merged and communicated to Latvia.
In the case, an аpplication was successfully examined regarding the applicant's conviction of a repeated offense before the completion of the proceedings on the previously committed offense. The case has violated the requirements of paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Circumstances of the case
In February 2009, the applicant was given a decision depriving him of the right to drive vehicles for two years for driving while intoxicated. In July 2009, the police drew up a protocol on an administrative offense, according to which the applicant was driving while he was deprived of the right to drive vehicles. The applicant complained about this protocol.
Before a decision was made on the applicant’s complaint, the police drew up yet another administrative offense report in September 2009, according to which the applicant re-committed the offense within one year of driving a person deprived of the right to drive vehicles. The applicant's complaint was dismissed.
QUESTIONS OF LAW
Regarding compliance with Article 6 § 2 of the Convention. In the course of the proceedings in the third administrative case, the Latvian courts established that the applicant had repeatedly committed an offense of driving a vehicle by a person deprived of the right to drive vehicles for one year. At the same time, the courts directly referred to the protocol on an administrative offense drawn up in July 2009, in respect of which the proceedings on the applicant's complaint have not yet been completed. The conclusion that the previously committed offense constituted the basis for the recognition of the repeat offense inevitably implied that the applicant had also committed a similar offense earlier.
With regard to the factual and legal presumptions existing in any legal system, the Convention does not in principle prohibit them. However, the authorities of the Contracting States must limit them to reasonable limits, taking into account the importance of the interests at stake, and retain the possibility of exercising the right to defense. In cases in which the Court analyzed factual and legal presumptions in the context of criminal proceedings, it specifically took into account the procedural guarantees and remedies that the accused could use to refute these presumptions. In cases where there was a lack of procedural guarantees provided to refute presumptions, the presumption of innocence was found to be violated.
The applicant was found guilty of re-committing the offense, and not just of driving while depriving him of the right to drive vehicles, and in connection with this he was not only given a larger fine, but also a five-day arrest, which he had to serve before the proceedings for a previously committed offense have ended. In the applicant's case, the presumption concerned the fact that he had committed an offense which was the subject of proceedings in another administrative case. The Latvian courts concluded that the administrative offense protocol drawn up in relation to a previous offense had legal force for them, despite the fact that it was appealed. Thus, the applicant was deprived of remedies in respect of this presumption.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the Convention (adopted by six votes in favor, with one - against).
In application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court found that the finding of a violation of the Convention in itself constituted sufficient just satisfaction for any non-pecuniary damage, and claims for pecuniary damage were rejected.