Maassen v. The Netherlands (Application no. 10982/15)

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


63. In the case in hand, the Court observes that the Regional Court in its decision of 18 December 2014 did not only rely on the gravity of the charge against the applicant,but also on the public reaction. More concretely, it referred to the young age of the victim and the great media attention (see paragraph 8 above). Taking into account the fact that the applicant’s pre-trial detention was still in its early stages, the Court finds that it cannot be said that this decision lacked relevant and sufficient reasons. 

64. However, the Court considers that the domestic judicial authorities in their subsequent decisions on the applicant’s pre-trial detention – the Court of Appeal’s decision of 14 January 2015 (see paragraph 11 above), the Regional Court’s decision of 17 March 2015 (see paragraph 15 above), the Court of Appeal’s decision of 22 April 2015 (see paragraph 17 above) and the Regional Court’s decision of 9 June 2015 (see paragraph 20 above) –, fell short of the above requirements. In particular, they did not show that public order would have been upset if the applicant had been released from pre-trial detention or if a preventive measure less compelling than detention had been imposed on him. Indeed, those subsequent decisions confirmed, in a relatively stereotyped way, without addressing the applicant’s and the prosecutor’s arguments and without any further explanation, the validity of the assessment previously made; theyconstituted little more than a chain of references leading back to the investigating judge’s order of 5 December 2014 (see paragraph 6 above). 

65. 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 into the official records of the hearings concerned, compensated for the lack of detail in the written decisions (see paragraph 44 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.

66. In the light of the above, the Court considers that, by failing to address specific facts and individual circumstances, the judicial authorities extended the applicant’s detention on grounds which, although “relevant”, cannot be regarded as “sufficient” to justify his continued detention. This conclusion dispenses the Court from ascertaining whether the competent national authorities displayed “special diligence” in the conduct of the proceedings (see the case-law quoted in paragraph 55 above, and Qing v. Portugal, no. 69861/11, § 69, 5 November 2015).

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


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