Hasselbaink v. The Netherlands (Application no. 73329/16)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgment.


75. The Government submitted that the continuation of the applicant’s pre-trial detention as from 13 July 2016 had been found justified by the Regional Court because of the risk of his reoffending, the fact that the offence committed had constituted an affront to the legal order and the risk that the applicant, if released, would take action to prejudice the administration of justice. The Government further submitted the arguments on the basis of which the Regional Court would have found these grounds applicable to the applicant’s case.

76. However, the Court cannot find support in the actual decisions of 4 August and 1 September 2016 (see paragraphs 18 and 20 above) for the arguments now put forward by the Government. The Court has already indicated that it is called on to assess whether the judicial orders contain references to specific facts and individual circumstances justifying continued detention, and not the Government’s posterior submissions in this regard (see Urtāns, cited above, § 35, with further references). The wording of the decisions taken by the Regional Court and the Court of Appeal in the present case merely refer back to the grounds and reasons set out in the decision given on 16 June 2016 (see paragraph 10 above), that is to say before additional evidence was taken by the investigating judge on 11 and 12 July 2016 (see paragraph 14 above). These decisions further do not address the essential question, raised by the applicant in his application of 13 July 2016 (see paragraph 15 above), whether in view of the evidence given beforethe investigating judge on 11 and 12 July 2016 the suspicion that the applicant had committed the offences in question remained reasonable. 

77. In this context, it should be reiterated that it is essentially on the basis of the reasons given by the national judicial authorities in their decisions on applications for release and of the well-documented facts stated by the applicant in his appeals that the Court is called upon to decide whether or not there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 (see Buzadji, cited above, § 91). The Court cannot therefore accept the Government’s contention that the depth of the courtroom discussions, reflected in the official records of the hearings concerned, compensated for the lack of detail in the written decisions (see paragraph 58 above). Indeed, the discussion at the hearing reflects the arguments put forward by the parties, but does not indicate what were the grounds justifying the pre-trial detention in the eyes of the judicial authority competent to order or extend a deprivation of liberty. Only a reasoned decision by those authorities can effectively demonstrate to the parties that they have been heard and make appeals and public scrutiny of the administration of justice possible (see Ignatenco v. Moldova, no. 36988/07, § 77, 8 February 2011). In this respect it is moreover noted that national law provisions – Articles 24(1) and 78(2) of the CCP (see paragraphs 23 and 25, above) – stipulate that decisions on pre-trial detention should be duly reasoned.

78. Having regard to the above, the Court concludes that the reasons provided in the present case by the domestic courts on, respectively, 4 August and 1 September 2016, although “relevant”, cannot be regarded as “sufficient” to justify his continued deprivation of liberty during the period in issue (see paragraph 74 above). This conclusion dispenses the Court from ascertaining whether the competent national authorities displayed “special diligence” in the conduct of the proceedings (see Qing v. Portugal, no. 69861/11, §§ 67-69, 5 November 2015).

79. It follows that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.


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