Article 48 - Presumption of innocence and right of defence
Key facts of the case:
Raivo Paala was convicted of tax fraud. In the decision of 10 January 2011, the court established that he committed the crime together with his brother A.P. (who died on 12 May 2005). Raivo Paala made an individual complaint on behalf of his dead brother and wanted his name to be removed from the judgments concerning the conviction of Raivo Paala. The Supreme Court returned the application without a substantive judgment as there were not legal grounds for such an appeal in the Estonian legal system.
Paivo Paala referred to art. 48 (1) of the Charter together with the relevant provision of the ECHR and the Constitution as giving an extraordinary right for such an individual complaint. The national legislation does not grant the right for such a complaint and the Supreme Court has accepted the right to individual complaint only in a few rare cases where the violation of basic rights had been continuing and when there were no other possible legal measures available.
Outcome of the case:
The appeal was returned to the applicant without a substantive decision.
2. R. Paala submitted an application to the Tartu Administrative Court on 3 November 2014 on behalf of his brother Arvi Paala (who died on 12 May 2005), and asked to confirm that A. Paala’s rights deriving from art. 6 para. 2 of the ECHR, Art. 48 para 1 of the Charter and art. 22 of the Constitution were violated, and to find that the decision of the Tartu County Court from 10 January 2011 was illegal as his brother was considered in that decision to be guilty of tax fraud. Such publication violates the reputation and dignity of the deceased A. Paala before the public and his relatives. R. Paala asked the court to order the removal of the references to such involvement of his brother in the tax fraud from the effective judgement.