Individual Application 54/19
Press Release concerning the Judgment Finding a Violation of the Right to Personal Liberty and Security due to Inadequate Amount of Compensation for Custodial Measure
On 9 May 2019, the Second Section of the Constitutional Court found violations of the right to personal liberty and security safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution and the right to a reasoned decision within the scope of the right to a fair trial safeguarded by Article 36 of the Constitution in the individual application lodged by M.E. (no. 2018/696).
The applicant (at the age of 16) was taken into custody within the scope of an investigation conducted by the incumbent chief public prosecutor’s office and released on conditional bail the next day. Upon the decision of non-prosecution issued by the chief public prosecutor’s office, the applicant brought an action seeking compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage suffered by him on account of his wrongful custody as well as his being subject to conditional bail. The assize court awarded him 39.24 Turkish liras (TRY) and TRY 150 in compensation for his pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage respectively. The applicant appealed the decision; however his request was dismissed by the Regional Administrative Court. Thereafter, he lodged an individual application.
The Applicant’s Allegations
The applicant maintained that there had been violations of his right to personal liberty and security due to the inadequate amount of compensation awarded on account of the custodial measure as well as of his right to a fair trial due to the failure to consider his claim for compensation as being subject to conditional bail.
The Court’s Assessment
1. Alleged Violation of the Right to Personal Liberty and Security
It is set forth in Article 19 of the Constitution that any damage suffered by persons subjected to treatment other than these provisions shall be compensated by the State in accordance with the general principles of the compensation law.
In cases where the inferior courts find that a person has been subject to any process in breach of the principles enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution, the examination to be conducted by the Constitutional Court will be limited to the determination as to whether the amount of awarded compensation is adequate.
In the present case, the incumbent court acknowledged that the applicant had been wrongfully taken into custody and accordingly awarded him compensation for his pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage. Therefore, the Court will confine itself to determining whether the amount of compensation is adequate.
The amount of pecuniary compensation awarded in the light of the evidence collected by the inferior courts cannot be said to be disproportionate under the particular circumstances of the present case. However, the non-pecuniary compensation in the amount of TRY 150 is considerably low compared to the amounts of compensation awarded by the Court in similar cases.
Although the amount of compensation awarded in the present case must not be the same with those awarded by the Constitutional Court in similar cases, it appears that under the particular circumstances of the present case -also in view of the minor status of the applicant-, it is low to the extent that would impair the essence of the right to compensation.
Consequently, the Constitutional Court has found a violation of the right to personal liberty and security safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution and accordingly awarded him TRY 5,000 as non-pecuniary damage.
2. Alleged Violation of the Right to a Fair Trial
In the present case, making a reference to the precedent decisions of the Court of Cassation, the applicant maintained elaborately in both his complaint and appeal petitions that he should have been awarded compensation for being subject to conditional bail. It must be accepted that his allegations are capable of altering the amount of compensation he will be awarded and thereby the outcome of his compensation action, which must be therefore taken into consideration and dealt with. However, it has been observed that the inferior courts failed to discuss, and make any assessment as to, these allegations. It has been accordingly concluded that the applicant’s right to a reasoned decision was violated.
Consequently, the Court has found a violation of the right to a reasoned decision falling within the ambit of the right to a fair trial, which is safeguarded by Article 36 of the Constitution.
This press release prepared by the General Secretariat intends to inform the public and has no binding effect.