Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
21.12.2010

Facts

After a night of drinking, a deaf and mute person, fell down the stairs, injuring his head and losing consciousness for several minutes. The police took him to the police station to sober up. When the ambulance crew contacted the police they were informed that no medical examination was needed since the person was simply intoxicated. After being locked up in a cell, the person knocked on the doors and walls for a while with no success. The following morning, after two failed attempts to wake the person up, the police called an ambulance and he was finally taken to a hospital. The person died several hours later and a subsequent autopsy confirmed multiple injuries to the head and brain as the cause of death.

Complaint

The applicant complained that his son\'s death was in violation of the guarantees of Article 2(1) of the Convention.

Court's ruling

The Court noted that persons with disabilities were particularly vulnerable when in custody and that the police had been properly informed of the applicant’s son’s sensory disabilities and of his injury. However, they had not had him medically examined when he was taken into custody. Nor had they given him any opportunity to provide information about his state of health. In conclusion, given their failure to seek a medical opinion or to call an ambulance the police had failed to fulfill their duty to safeguard his life. Thus there has been a violation of Article 2(1) of the Convention.