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Changes to legal procedures after detainee denied the opportunity to make his case in court

Frommelt v. Liechtenstein  | 2004

Changes to legal procedures after detainee denied the opportunity to make his case in court

The proceedings before the Court of Appeal were not truly adversarial and did not ensure equality of arms between the parties.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, 24th June 2004

Background

Peter Frommelt was kept in detention whilst awaiting trial for financial crimes. He asked to be released before the trial. When this was considered on appeal, neither he nor his lawyer were allowed to put forward any legal arguments. The request was then rejected and the court ordered Mr Frommelt to be kept in pre-trial detention for a year. 

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The Strasbourg court noted that prisoners have a right to be heard by a court when they object to their pre-trial detention. The refusal to hear Mr Frommelt’s arguments violated his rights. 

Follow-up

Procedures were changed in Liechtenstein. Detainees now have the right to make legal comments when a court is considering the extension of their pre-trial detention.