SECOND SECTION

DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 10406/03 
by Kęstutis LIEKIS 
against Lithuania

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on  
30 May 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J.-P. Costa, President
 Mr A.B. Baka
 Mr R. Türmen
 Mr M. Ugrekhelidze
 Mrs E. Fura-Sandström
 Ms D. Jočienė, 
 Mr D. Popović, judges
and Mr S. Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 March 2003,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,

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 FACTS

The applicant, Mr Kęstutis Liekis, is a Lithuanian national who was born in 1970 and lives in Kaunas. The Lithuanian Government  
(“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms E. Baltutytė.

A.  The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On 2 May 2000 the applicant was arrested and questioned as a suspect in the context of criminal proceedings for robbery. Another person, LJ, was suspected of being his accomplice.

On 4 May 2000 the Kaunas City District Court ordered the applicant’s detention on remand for 10 days.

On 11 May 2000 the court extended the term of his remand in custody for two months.

On 24 May 2000 the applicant’s remand was varied by the decision of a prosecutor, and he was placed under house arrest.

On 8 August 2000 the bill of indictment was confirmed, and the case was transmitted for trial.

On 31 May 2001 the Kaunas City District Court adjourned the trial as LJ had absconded.

On the same date the court ordered the applicant’s bail - with the written obligation not to leave. It was indicated in the bail decision that appeal lay to the Kaunas Regional Court against that order, but the applicant did not appeal.

On 7 March 2003 the court renewed the examination of the case against the applicant.

On 16 May 2003 he was acquitted.

On 12 August 2003 the Kaunas Regional Court dismissed the prosecutors’ appeal challenging the acquittal.

On 24 February 2004 the Supreme Court rejected the prosecutors’ cassation appeal. That decision was final.

COMPLAINTS 

1. Under Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention the applicant complained that he had been detained unlawfully, and that he had had no effective remedy against that detention.

2. Under Article 6 the applicant complained that the criminal proceedings had lasted too long.

3. He further complained that his liberty of movement had been violated by the written obligation not to leave.

THE LAW

1. To the extent that the applicant has complained under Article 3 (the prohibition on torture, inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 5 (the right to liberty and security of person) of the Convention in relation to his detention on remand and the house arrest, the Court notes that the applicant’s remand in custody ended on 24 May 2000 and the house arrest ended on 31 May 2001, while the application was introduced on 10 March 2003. In view of his allegation of an absence of domestic remedies against the alleged violations, the applicant failed to comply with the six months’ time-limit under Article 35 § 1 of the Convention to raise this matter  
(see Jankauskas v. Lithuania, no. 59304/00 (dec.) 16 December 2003; also see Jėčius v. Lithuania, no. 34578/97, § 44, ECHR 2000-IX).

2. The applicant next alleged a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention (the right to trial within a reasonable time) in that the criminal proceedings against him had lasted too long. The Government disagreed.

The Court notes that the period to be taken into consideration commenced on 2 May 2000 and ended with the applicant’s final acquittal on 24 February 2004. The overall length of the proceedings was thus slightly more than three years and nine months at three levels of jurisdiction. The Court considers that the period as such could be deemed adequate for the purposes of Article 6 § 1, particularly as the proceedings had been protracted as a result of the disappearance of the applicant’s co-defendant. There is no indication of any substantial delay attributable to the authorities. The foregoing considerations are sufficient to enable the Court to conclude that the proceedings did not exceed the “reasonable time” requirement. Accordingly, this part of the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

3. Finally, the applicant complained of the written obligation not to leave. The Court considers that Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention (freedom of movement) is relevant to this part of the application. However, by failing to appeal against the court order of 31 May 2001 which contained the impugned restriction, the applicant did not exhaust domestic remedies as required by Article 35 § 1 of the Convention.

The Court concludes that the procedure under Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should be terminated, and the application rejected as a whole.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the application inadmissible.

S. Naismith  J.-P. Costa 
 Deputy Registrar President

LIEKIS v. LITHUANIA DECISION


LIEKIS v. LITHUANIA DECISION