ECtHR / Application no. 53785/09 / Judgement Tomasović v Croatia

Key facts of the case:

Minor-offences proceedings against the applicant

  1. On 25 March 2004 the Split police lodged a request for minor-offences proceedings to be instituted against the applicant in the Split Minor Offences Court (Prekršajni sud u Splitu).
  2. On 3 March 2006 the Split Minor Offences Court found that on 15 March 2004 at about 10.35 p.m. the applicant had had 0.21 grams of heroin on her, which amounted to a minor offence under section 3(1) of the Prevention of Narcotics Abuse Act. She was fined 1,700 Croatian kunas (HRK) on the basis of section 54(1)(1) and 54(3) of the same Act. This decision became final on 15 March 2006.
Proceedings on indictment
  1. On 8 February 2005 the Split State Attorney’s Office (Općinsko državno odvjetništvo u Splitu) lodged an indictment with the Split Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Splitu) accusing the applicant of possession of heroin. The police report was included in the case file.
  2. On 19 March 2007 the Split Municipal Court, in criminal proceedings against the applicant, found the applicant guilty of possessing 0,14 grams of heroin on 15 March 2004 at about 10.35 p.m. and fined her HRK 1,526. The previous fine was to be included in this one. The applicant was also ordered to bear the costs of the proceedings in the amount of HRK 400.
  3. The applicant’s conviction was upheld by the Split County Court (Županijski sud u Splitu) on 5 June 2007 but a suspended sentence of four month’s imprisonment was applied with a one-year probation period.
  4. The applicant’s subsequent constitutional complaint, alleging a violation of the ne bis in idem principle, was dismissed by the Constitutional Court on 7 May 2009 on the ground that the Croatian legal system did not exclude the possibility of punishing the same person twice for the same offence when the same act is prescribed both as a minor offence and a criminal offence.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences or implications of the case:

The Court unanimously
  1. Declares the application admissible;
  2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention;
  3. Holds
(a)  that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into Croatian kunas at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
 
(i)  EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
 
(ii)  EUR 1,130 (one thousand one hundred thirty euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
 
(b)  that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
  1. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.