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France / Court of Cassation, Criminal Chamber / 14-87661

Mr Naqeeb X. v the French Republic

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Court of Cassation (Criminal Chamber)
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

On 26 November 2013 Mr Naqeeb X. was placed in police custody. This measure was extended twice by the examining magistrate. On 30 November 2013 Mr Naqeeb X. was put under investigation for the laundering of proceeds of criminal offences, organized fraud, and criminal conspiracy.On 24 April 2014 Mr Naqeeb X. filed a request to halt the legal procedure.The investigating chamber of the Douai Appeal Court in its judgment of 26 September 2014 rejected the request to cancel parts of the procedure.

Mr Naqeeb X. argued before the Court of cassation that the right to a lawyer during police custody implies access to the all the documents, in order to be effective at this stage and to allow for the organization of a defence and preparation for questioning. The examining magistrate (juge d’instruction) being at the origin of the arrest and the detention and who is charged with conducting the investigation, and is therefore the person who rules on the extension of police custody and assesses the legality and necessity of this, in addition without the assistance of lawyer, constitutes a violation of Article 5 § 3 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the preliminary article of the Code of Criminal Procedure’.

Outcome of the case:

The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal, dismissing the pleas.

According to the investigating chamber of the Douai Court of Appeal, the exhaustive list of documents that the lawyer for a person in custody may consult is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. The restriction on the communication of the entire file is not, at this stage of the proceedings, likely to deprive the person of a real and effective right to a fair trial or to undermine the rights of defence, access to all parts is guaranteed before the ruling court and the judgment. The investigating judge, who is not the prosecuting party, presents safeguards of independence in respect of the executive and the parties required by article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights

The Court of Cassation confirmed the ruling of the investigating chamber of the Douai Court of Appeal, however, in referring only to the European Convention on Human Rights.