CASE OF MEILUS V. LITHUANIA – Application no. 53161/99
Mr Reimundas Meilus applied to the European Court of Human Rights against the Republic of Lithuania under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention (trial within a reasonable time).
In November 1994 Mr Meilus became a suspect in a criminal (fraud) case. On 14 August 1996 Mr Meilus was charged on five counts, including cheating and embezzlement. On 15 October 1998 the Kaunas City District Court found Mr Meilus guilty on four counts. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Upon Mr Meilus’s cassation appeal, on 30 September 1999 the Supreme Court quashed the conviction and the appellate decision because of numerous breaches of domestic criminal procedure. The case was returned to the Kaunas City District Court for a new examination to be carried out.
Issue: Mr Meilus invoked Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
Decision of the Court on the alleged violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
Holdings: Yes, there was a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
Court’s Rationale: According to the Court’s case-law, the reasonableness of the length of proceedings must be assessed in light of the particular circumstances of the case and giving due regard to the criteria laid down in the Court’s case-law, in particular the complexity of the case and the conduct of the applicant and of the authorities dealing with the case.
Costs and expenses: The Court held that Lithuania was to pay Mr Meilus 5 000 Euros in respect of non-pecuniary damages.