DECISION OF THE COMMISSION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application No. 12867/87

by Owe SKOOGSTRÖM

against Sweden

The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on 12 May 1988, the following members being present :

MM. C.A. NORGAARD, President

J.A. FROWEIN  

S. TRECHSEL

F. ERMACORA

G. SPERDUTI

E. BUSUTTIL

A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK

A. WEITZEL

J.-.C. SOYER

H.G. SCHERMERS

H. DANELIUS

G. BATLINER

H. VANDENBERGHE

Mrs; G.H. THUNE

Sir Basil HALL

MM. F. MARTINEZ

C.L. ROZAKIS

Mrs.  J. LIDDY

Mr. H.C. KRÜGER Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the application introduced on 28 January 1987 by Owe Skoogström against Sweden and registered on 21 April 1987 under file No. 12867/87;

Having regard to:

- the Government’s written observations dated 20 January 1988;

- the applicant’s written observations in reply dated 18 March 1988;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

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

On 14 January 1987 a District Prosecutor (distriktsaklagare) at Sundsvall issued an order for the provisional detention of the applicant on suspicion of aggravated fraud and theft.

Between 18.30 and 19.00 the same day the applicant was arrested at Jönköping. He was taken to the police station where he spent the night in custody.

On the next day the applicant was taken to Sundsvall, 800 kilometres away where he was kept in provisional detention.

On 20 January 1987 the Public Prosecutor submitted an application to the district Court (tingsrätt) of Sundvall for the detention of the applicant.

The District Court held a hearing on 21 January 1987 at 14.00 hours after which it ordered that the applicant be detained on the grounds that he was reasonably suspected of using false documents, falsification of documents, embezzlement and forgery, that it could be expected that he would evade legal proceedings and that there was a risk, if the applicant was released, that he would continue criminal activities.

The applicant appealed to the Court of Appeal (hovrätten) of Nedre Norrland. The Court rejected the appeal on 27 January 1987. The applicant submitted a further appeal to the Supreme Court (högstadomstolen) which on 4 February 1987 refused to grant leave to appeal.

On 26 February 1987 the District Court sentenced the applicant to six months imprisonment. On 4 March the applicant declared himself to be satisfied with the judgment.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant complains that he has not been brought promptly before a judge as required by Article 5 para. 3 of the Convention.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

The application was introduced on 28 January 1987 and registered on 21 April 1987.

On 7 October 1987, the Commission decided pursuant to Rule 42 para. 2 (b) of the Rules of Procedure to give notice of the application to the Government and invite them to submit written observations on its admissibility and merits.

The Government’s observations were dated 20 January 1988 and the applicant’s observations in reply were dated 18 March 1988.

 

SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES

A. The Government

1. The Admissibility

The Government waive objections against the admissibility of the application.

2. The Merits

According to the case-law of the Convention organs, the obligation to bring a provisionally detained person promptly before a judge, or some other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power has been interpreted as meaning that this should normally be done within four days of the apprehension of that person. It also follows from the case-law that a public prosecutor does not qualify as a judge, nor does he qualify as such “other officer authorised to exercise judicial power” as is referred to by the Convention.

Consequently, it follows from the facts of the present case that a breach of the Convention has occurred in the respect alleged by the applicant.

The Government point out, however, that the period by which the time-limit for bringing a provisionally detained person before a judge was transgressed only by a relatively short time. The District Prosecutor did what he could to have the question of detention on remand examined by the District Court as soon as possible.

The Government observe that the District Court ordered that the forty-three days during which the applicant had been deprived of his liberty prior to conviction were to be considered as time served in prison. Consequently, the time that the applicant would spend in prison after the judgment was to be reduced accordingly.

3. Conclusions

The Government waive objections against the admissibility of the application, and admit the violation of the Convention alleged by the applicant. They request that a report to that effect be established by the Commission.

B. The Applicant

The applicant did not make any further submissions in the context of this application.

THE LAW

The applicant complains that he was not brought promptly before a judge as required by Article 5 para. 3 of the Convention.

The Government waive objections against the admissibility of the application and admit that there has been a violation of the Convention as alleged by the applicant.

Article 5 para. 3 of the Convention reads:

“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions

of paragraph 1 © of this Article shall be brought promptly

before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise

judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable

time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by

guarantees to appear for trial.”

The issue which arises in the case is whether the time which elapsed from the applicant’s apprehension on 14 January 1987 at about 19.00 hours until his appearance before the Court on 21 January 1987 at 14.00 hours, i.e. six days and nineteen hours satisfies the condition of “promptly”.

The Commission has made a preliminary examination of this question in the light of the parties’ observations. It finds that the question raises a serious issue, which must be examined on the merits. The application cannot therefore be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the Convention, but must be declared admissible, no other ground for declaring it inadmissible having been established.

For these reasons, the Commission,

DECLARED THE APPLICATION ADMISSIBLE

Secretary to the Commission    President to the Commission

(H.C. KRÜGER)     (C.A. NORGAARD)