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Sweden / The Supreme Administrative Court / 1161-14

T.W. v The Police Authority

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

T.W. was given a conditional sentence for assault and battery by the “Värmland District Court” on 10 April 2013. When the sentence became legally binding, the “Police Authority Värmland” decided to revoke T.W’s licence to possess firearm and ammunition, since he was considered unsuitable to keep it. On 24 May 2013, T.W. appealed to the Administrative Court, demanding that the Police Authority’s decision should be overruled. The Administrative Court overruled the decision of the Police Authority. The Police Authority appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal in Gothenburg, which approved the appeal and also ruled in accordance with the earlier decision of the Police Authority Värmland. T.W. in turn appealed this ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court. The key legal question was if the Swedish legislation for revocation of weapon licences, article 6.1 paragraph a of the Weapons Act, is contrary to the prohibition of dual trials and dual punishments for the same crime as stipulated in article 4.1 in the Seventh protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights and in article 50 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, when the revocation is based on an already existing criminal sentence (ne bis in idem). If this is proven to be the case, the following question is whether in that case can be said to be any legal grounds for the decision to revoke the weapon licence. 

The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling stipulates that the Swedish procedure for revocation of a license to possess firearms cannot be considered to be of a part of criminal law, but is rather a part of administrative law. As a consequence, the revoking of a licence cannot be seen as a violation of the prohibition of dual trial and dual punishment for the same crime as it is stipulated in article 4.1 of the European Convention‘s Seventh Additional Protocol and article 50 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Outcome of the case:

T.W.’s appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Administrative Court. As a consequence the first decision of the Police Authority Värmland was enforced.