MAZULA v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 34423/14

FOURTH SECTION
DECISION
Application no. 34423/14
József István MAZULA
against Hungary

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 8 January 2019 as a Committee composed of:

Faris Vehabović, President,
Carlo Ranzoni,
Péter Paczolay, judges,
and Andrea Tamietti, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 29 April 2014,

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

1. The applicant, Mr József István Mazula, is a Hungarian national, who was born in 1985 and lives in Békéscsaba. He was represented before the Court by Mr G. Csüri, a lawyer practising in Gyula.

2. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr Z. Tallódi, Ministry of Justice.

The circumstances of the case

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

4. The applicant was detained on remand on 17 October 2013. On 14 November 2013 his detention on remand was prolonged until 17 January 2014.

5. On 16 January 2014, that is to say, before the expiry of the time-limit of 17 January, the Gyula District Court prolonged the applicant’s detention on remand. This decision was notified to the prison on 28 January and served on the applicant and his lawyer on 29 January 2014.

6. Upon appeal of the applicant’s defence counsel dated 29 January 2014, the Gyula High Court upheld the decision on 12 February 2014.

COMPLAINTS

7. The applicant complained under Article 5 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention that his detention between 17 and 29 January 2014 lacked legal basis and that he did not have an effective procedure by which to challenge the lawfulness of his detention.

THE LAW

8. The applicant complained that he had been detained for thirteen days without proper legal ground, in breach of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention.

9. The Government submitted that the periodic prolongation order had been given by the Gyula District Court in due time, on 16 January, that is to say, before the expiry of the time-limit of 17 January 2014. The applicant submitted that, in his view, that court order had been produced only later, retroactively. He noted that section 214(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provided for the immediate service of such decisions.

10. The Court notes the presence, in the case file, of the District Court’s order of 16 January 2014, which was served on 29 January 2014. There is no appearance whatsoever that this order was not issued on the date which appears on it. The Court is therefore not convinced by the applicant’s allegation of the order having been antedated. It follows that – even if the despatch of the order was belated – the applicant’s detention was not devoid of a legal basis. This complaint is therefore manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) and must be rejected, pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

11. The applicant further complained that he had not had at his disposal an effective procedure, in breach of Article 5 § 4 of the Convention, by virtue of which to challenge his detention, because the written order had been served on him and his lawyer only on 29 January 2014.

12. The Government submitted that the time which the service of the decision had taken played no role, because the relevant three-day time-limit for appealing started only with the service (section 215(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure). In any event, the applicant had been, at any time during the impugned period, entitled to submit an application for release under section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The applicant disagreed, insisting that the belated service had obviated his right to appeal against the prolongation order.

13. The Court notes that under section 215(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure a three-day time-limit, starting to run from the service of the decision, was available for the applicant to appeal against the order of 16 January 2014 (see paragraph 5 above). Indeed, the applicant’s counsel did lodge an appeal against that order, which was examined by the Gyula High Court (see paragraph 6 above). In these circumstances, it cannot be said that the applicant’s rights under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention have been frustrated. It follows that that this complaint is likewise manifestly ill‑founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) and must be rejected, pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Declares the application inadmissible.

Done in English and notified in writing on 31 January 2019.

Andrea Tamietti                              Faris Vehabović
Deputy Registrar                                President

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