Criminal conviction for drug trafficking of truck driver was not unfair
Poletan and Azirovik v. “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
In the case of Poletan and Azirovik v. “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (application nos. 26711/07, 32786/10 and 34278/10) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
no violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 2 (right to a fair trial / presumption of innocence) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned the complaint of two persons convicted of drug trafficking that the criminal proceedings against them had been unfair. They notably alleged: that the trial court’s decision had lacked reasoning; that one of the applicants had been unable to consult the case file and that she had had no opportunity to examine two witnesses; and that the expert examination of the substance in question had been biased.
The Court – underlining that its role was essentially subsidiary to that of the national authorities which were better placed to assess the credibility of evidence with a view to establishing the facts – saw no reason to depart from the domestic courts’ conclusion to the effect that one of the applicants, who had driven the truck in which the drugs were found, had been aware that he was transporting drugs.
The Court further declared inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded the remainder of the complaints. It noted in particular that while two witnesses had been unable to attend the trial their statements – which had been read out instead – had constituted neither the sole, nor the decisive evidence on which the domestic courts had relied.
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