European Court of Human Rights
24 November 2009

Facts

The applicant, Mr Shannon, was a citizen of the USA temporarily staying in Latvia. He was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of having sexually assaulted juveniles during his previous trip to Latvia. His detention was prolonged several times. All of his appeals against the detention orders were refused.

Complaint

Mr Shannon complained under Article 5(4) that the court orders extending his detention had been too abstract and concise, the reasons behind them simply repeating grounds for detention provided for by law without explaining how they applied in his particular case, and that his appeals against those court orders had not been examined in good time.

Court's ruling

Although the Court did not find Article 5(4) violation in the specific circumstances of the present case, it held that the reasoning used to extend the applicant’s pre-trial detention had been fairly abstract and concise, which was found as a problem already in earlier Latvian cases. 

The Court further noted the importance of the guarantee to speedy review of the detention application. In the present case, the Court found a violation regarding two decisions which were delivered after 89 and 38 days respectively after the submissions by the applicant. As the Court concluded that the delay was caused by an erroneous behavior of the court involved and not because of the applicant, Article 5(4) guarantees were violated.

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