AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
Application no. 9300/04
by Árpádné BARTOS
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 6 July 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J.-P. Costa, President,
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr I. Cabral Barreto,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Ms D. Jočienė, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 19 January 2004,
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 applicant, Mrs Árpádné Bartos, is a Hungarian national who was born in 1952 and lives in Szatymaz, Hungary. The respondent Government are represented by Mr L. Höltzl, Agent, Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
In 1995 criminal investigations were instituted against the applicant and her accomplice on suspicion of aggravated fraud.
On 8 August 1997 the Szeged District Public Prosecutor preferred a bill of indictment against the applicant, charging her with aggravated fraud and forgery of documents.
On 30 October 1998 the Szeged District Court convicted the applicant.
On appeal, on 7 December 1999, the Csongrád County Regional quashed the judgment.
In the resumed proceedings, on 3 June 2002 the District Court again convicted the applicant of the charges and sentenced her to one year’s imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered her to pay damages to the victim. The applicant appealed against this judgment.
On 19 November 2002 the Regional Court upheld in essence the first-instance judgment. This decision became final on that date.
On 10 March 2003 the applicant’s request for a retrial was rejected. Her appeals against this rejection were dismissed by the Regional Court on 18 March and by the Szeged Court of Appeal on 3 May 2004.
Meanwhile, on 22 September 2003 the Supreme Court rejected, without an examination on the merits, the applicant’s petition for review as “excluded by the law” (törvényben kizárt) – and as such, inadmissible – since it was incompatible ratione materiae with the relevant provisions of the New Code of Criminal Procedure. Her repeated petition for review was rejected on 24 October 2005.
The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length and fairness of the criminal proceedings instituted against her. Concerning the latter, she also relies on Articles 13 and 14 of the Convention.
The applicant complains that the criminal proceedings against her were not fair and lasted an unreasonably long time, in breach of Article 6 § 1, which, in its relevant part, provides as follows:
“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
The Government submit that the application was lodged outside the six-month time-limit, laid down in Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, which ran from the Regional Court’s final decision in the case, given on 19 November 2002. In any event, the authorities handled the applicant’s case with the requisite diligence.
The applicant contests these views.
The Court observes that the final domestic decision, within the meaning of Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, was given by the Csongrád County Regional Court on 19 November 2002. However, the application was introduced only on 19 January 2004, i.e. more than six months later. The applicant’s unsuccessful request for a retrial and her incompatible petitions for review, which were bound to fail, do not qualify as effective remedies in the circumstances and, therefore, do not influence the running of the six-month time-limit.
It follows that the application has been lodged out of time and must be rejected, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention. Accordingly, the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention to the case should be discontinued.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
S. Dollé J.-P. Costa
BARTOS v. HUNGARY DECISION
BARTOS v. HUNGARY DECISION