ECHR judgment of 14 February 2017 in the case of Hokkeling v. The Netherlands (application No. 30749/12).
In 2012, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. The application was subsequently communicated to the Netherlands.
In the case, the complaint for a full review of the criminal case in the absence of the accused was successfully considered. There has been a violation of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
In May 2007, the applicant was found guilty of crimes related to drug trafficking and serious bodily harm, resulting in the death of the victim, and was sentenced to four years and six months of imprisonment. He and the prosecutor appealed against the verdict. In March 2009, when his complaint was still being considered, the applicant was released from prison in the Netherlands. Shortly thereafter, he was detained and detained in Norway for other crimes related to illicit drug trafficking. On 18 June 2010, the appellate court in the Netherlands, after a full review of the case, convicted the applicant in absentia and increased his sentence to eight years in prison.
In the conventional proceedings, the applicant complained under Article 6 of the Convention that he had not been able to personally participate in the hearings in the Netherlands.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with paragraph 1 and subparagraph "c" of paragraph 3 of Article 6 of the Convention. If the appellate court considers the case from the point of view of facts and law and gives a full assessment of the issue of guilt or innocence, it should not resolve the matter without directly assessing the evidence given personally by the accused. The refusal of the Court of Appeal to consider measures that would allow the applicant to exercise his right to participate in the hearing on the merits is all the more difficult to understand that his punishment was increased to eight years, which meant that after returning to the Netherlands the applicant had to serve a term in addition to that , which has already been served. The Court agreed with the respondent Government that the applicant's detention in Norway was a direct consequence of his own conduct and recognized as legitimate the interests of the relatives of the victim and the society as a whole that the criminal proceedings against the applicant should be completed promptly.
However, in view of the important place that the right to a fair trial rests in a democratic society, neither the presence of the applicant at the hearings during the trial in the trial court nor the active exercise of defense by the lawyer could compensate for the applicant's personal absence in the court of second instance.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention (rendered by six votes "for" with one - "against").
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The finding of a fact of a violation in itself constitutes sufficient fair compensation.