CJEU - C-486/14 / Judgment Criminal Proceedings against Piotr Kossowski

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement — Articles 54 and 55(1)(a) — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 50 — Ne bis in idem principle — Whether an accused may be prosecuted in a Member State after criminal proceedings brought against him in another Member State have been terminated by the public prosecutor’s office without a detailed investigation — No examination of the merits of the case

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

...the Court (Grand Chamber), rules as follows:

The principle of ne bis in idem laid down in Article 54 of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders, which was signed in Schengen (Luxembourg) on 19 June 1990, read in the light of Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted as meaning that a decision of the public prosecutor terminating criminal proceedings and finally closing the investigation procedure against a person, albeit with the possibility of its being reopened or annulled, without any penalties having been imposed, cannot be characterised as a final decision for the purposes of those articles when it is clear from the statement of reasons for that decision that the procedure was closed without a detailed investigation having been carried out; in that regard, the fact that neither the victim nor a potential witness was interviewed is an indication that no such investigation took place.

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 
  1. It should be recalled at the outset that the Court has already held — at paragraph 35 of the judgment of 5 June 2014 in M (C‑398/12, EU:C:2014:1057) — that, since the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same offence is set out both in Article 54 of the CISA and in Article 50 of the Charter, Article 54 must be interpreted in the light of Article 50.
  2. The Court therefore considers that, by Question 2, the referring court is essentially asking whether the ne bis in idem principle laid down in Article 54 of the CISA, read in the light of Article 50 of the Charter, must be interpreted as meaning that a decision of the public prosecutor terminating criminal proceedings and finally closing the investigation procedure against a person — albeit with the possibility of its being reopened or annulled, without any penalties having been imposed, may be characterised as a final decision for the purposes of those articles, when that procedure was closed without a detailed investigation having been carried out.
  1. In the light of the foregoing, the answer to Question 2 is that the principle of ne bis in idem laid down in Article 54 of the CISA, read in the light of Article 50 of the Charter, must be interpreted as meaning that a decision of the public prosecutor terminating criminal proceedings and finally closing the investigation procedure against a person, albeit with the possibility of its being reopened or annulled, without any penalties having been imposed, cannot be characterised as a final decision for the purposes of those articles when it is clear from the statement of reasons for that decision that the procedure was closed without a detailed investigation having been carried out; in that regard, the fact that neither the victim nor a potential witness was interviewed is an indication that no such investigation took place.