The applicant was taken into custody and charged with attempted drug smuggling. His pre-trial detention was extended on several occasions, including by decisions taken by the District Court in October and December 2011. The applicant appealed unsuccessfully against those decisions. He further alleged that statements regarding his guilt in those decisions had breached the presumption of innocence; a matter addressed and rectified by the Court of Appeal. In March 2012 Judge F. of the District Court took a decision setting the criminal case down for trial. The applicant remained in detention during trial and his application for release was dismissed in February 2013. In August 2013, the District Court, sitting in a single judge formation composed of Judge F., found the applicant guilty and sentenced him to a term of imprisonment.
District Court in its decision of March 2012 had simply upheld the detention imposed on the applicant at the pre-trial stage without providing any reasons whatsoever for its decision or setting any time-limits for his continued detention. That had left the applicant in a state of uncertainty as to the grounds and duration of his detention after that date. The later decision of February 2013, taken upon the applicant’s application for release, had not contained any specific reasons justifying the applicant’s detention and, moreover, had been taken almost one year after the decision of March 2012. It therefore could not be regarded as rectifying the flaws of that decision.
The Court also held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 3 as regards the failure of the domestic courts to provide relevant and sufficient reasons for the applicant’s continued detention on remand; and a violation of Article 5 § 4 in that the hearing of March 2012 had been conducted in violation of the principle of equality of arms.
Article 41: EUR 5,200 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.