European Court of Human Rights
11 July 2002

Facts

The applicant, Mr. Gӧç, was detained by the police for two days as he was accused of stealing and falsifying court documents, but later released without charge. Mr. Gӧç submitted a claim against the Treasury for compensation in respect of his unlawful detention. The court of first instance decided that it was not necessary to hear the applicant. It asked for the opinion of the public prosecutor, which was never served on to the applicant. The applicant was awarded Mr. Gӧç 10,000,000 Turkish liras which was less than he initially asked. Both Mr. Gӧç and the Treasury appealed the judgment. The Court of Cassation upheld the award made by the lower court without holding a public hearing.

Complaint

Mr. Gӧç claimed that his right to a fair and public hearing was violated as he was never afforded a public hearing.

Court's ruling

The Court pointed that in proceedings before a court of first and only instance oral hearing must be held unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify dispensing with such a hearing. The Court stressed the importance of public hearing at the court which was entitled to establish the facts of the dispute and assess the amount of compensation, even if there was a possibility to request a public hearing at the Court of Cassation. In the particular case the Court found that there were no such exceptional circumstances. Even more, the essentially personal nature of the applicant\'s experience, and the determination of the appropriate level of moral compensation, required that he be heard. Therefore the Court ruled that the right to fair trial of Mr. Gӧç was violated.

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