EIT:lta tuomio Suomelle epäoikeudenmukaisesta oikeudenkäynnistä

Euroopan NeuvostoEuroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuin (EIT) on tänään antanut tuomion asiassa Marttinen v. Suomi. EIT katsoi, että valittajan oikeutta oikeudenmukaiseen oikeudenkäyntiin oli loukattu, kun hänet tuomittiin sakkoon siitä syystä, että hän kieltäytyi vastaamaan ulosottoselvityksessä tehtäviin kysymyksiin.

Valittaja väitti kansallisessa prosessissa, että hän ei ollut velvollinen kertomaan ulosotossa asioista, joista hänellä oli oikeus kieltäytyä kertomasta häneen kohdistuneiden velallisen rikoksia koskeneiden epäilyjen vuoksi käynnissä olleessa esitutkinnassa. Korkein oikeus antoi valittajan asiassa ennakkopäätöksen KKO 2002:116. Samankaltainen kysymys oli esillä tapauksessa KKO 2003:13.

Korkein oikeus on myös viime perjantaina 17.4.2009 katsonut tapauksessa KKO 2009:27, että velallisen tulee ilmoittaa myös sellainen omaisuus, jonka osalta epäillään rikosta.

EIT totesi asiasta seuraavaa:

71.  The Court must give due weight to the fact that the Finnish Supreme Court did not deny the applicant's argument that the pre-trial investigation and the enforcement inquiry concerned the same facts. The dissenting opinion of Justice M.A. is clear on this point, stating expressly that the facts in issue were the same. While it is not for the Court to speculate about whether or not the applicant's assets were the same at the material time as during the period from 1994 to 1997, the applicant could not rule out that, if it transpired from his declaration that he had assets which had not been declared in the previous enforcement inquiries and bankruptcy proceedings, he might be charged with the offence of debtor's fraud (compare J.B. v. Switzerland, no. 31827/96, § 66, ECHR 2001-III).

72.  The Government pointed out that the obligation to provide information in the enforcement inquiry should be considered against the background of the protection by the provisions on confidentiality of any incriminating information received. The Court notes that it is true that the Bailiff was bound by professional secrecy. However, it is not apparent that the creditors applying for enforcement were prohibited from using any information received to their personal benefit in the pending criminal proceedings. Thus, the application of the Openness of Government Activities Act could not change the choice presented by Chapter 3, section 34(d), of the Enforcement Act: either the applicant provided the information requested or he faced the imposition of an administrative fine. The Court also notes that the Government did not refer to any domestic case-law which would have authoritatively excluded the later admission in evidence against the applicant of any statements made by him in the enforcement inquiry.

73.  Accordingly, the Court finds that the “degree of compulsion” imposed on the applicant by the application of Chapter 3, section 34(d), of the Enforcement Act with a view to compelling him to provide information in the enforcement inquiry destroyed the very essence of his privilege against self-incrimination and his right to remain silent as a pre-trial investigation had been opened against him and both the enforcement procedure and the pre-trial investigation concerned the same facts (compare Shannon v. United Kingdom, cited above, § 41).

74.  As to the concerns detailed by the Government regarding the effective functioning of the enforcement procedure, the Court notes that in the case of Saunders v. the United Kingdom (cited above, § 74) it found that the argument of the respondent government that the complexity of corporate fraud and the vital public interest in the investigation of such fraud and the punishment of those responsible could not justify such a marked departure from one of the basic principles of a fair procedure. It considered that the general requirements of fairness contained in Article 6, including the right not to incriminate oneself, “apply to criminal proceedings in respect of all types of criminal offences without distinction from the most simple to the most complex”. It concluded that the public interest could not be relied on to justify the use of answers compulsorily obtained in a non-judicial investigation to incriminate the accused during the trial proceedings. Likewise, in the case of Funke v. France (cited above, § 44) the special features of customs law were found insufficient by the Court to justify such an infringement of the right of anyone charged with a criminal offence, within the autonomous meaning of that expression in Article 6, to remain silent and not to incriminate himself.

75.  The Court, accordingly, finds that the concerns for the effective functioning of the debt recovery procedure relied on by the Finnish Government cannot justify a provision which extinguishes the very essence of the applicant's rights to silence and against self-incrimination guaranteed by the Convention. This was the situation in the applicant's case at the material time. The mechanism introduced by a subsequent amendment to the legislation prohibiting the use of incriminating information in order to circumvent provisions on testimony or in order to have the debtor charged with a criminal offence, came too late for the applicant (see paragraph 34 above).

76.  The Court concludes, therefore, that there has been a violation of the applicant's right to silence and his right not to incriminate himself guaranteed by Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

Marttinen v. Finland

Asianajotoimisto Fredman & Månsson

Asianajotoimisto Fredman & Månssonin osakkaina ovat asianajaja, varatuomari Markku Fredman ja asianajaja, varatuomari Ulf Månsson.

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