CASE OF POCIUS V. LITHUANIA – Application no. 35601/04
Mr Pocius applied to the European Court of Human Rights alleging that the Lithuanian courts made a judgment in his case on the basis of classified evidence presented by the police and never disclosed it to him. Kaunas City Police informed Mr Pocius that his permits to keep and carry a firearm for defense purposes as well as a hunting rifle were revoked because he was placed on an “operational records file”. Mr Pocius, in court, challenged the entry of his name into those operational records and asked for its removal. The proceedings before the national courts was unfair, in particular as a result of not having access to the evidence on which the decision of the courts was made.
Issue: Mr Pocius invoked Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
Decision of the Court: The Court decided that there was a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the Convention.
The Court found that the revocation of that license and the subsequent judicial proceedings had an effect upon the civil rights of Mr Pocius. The Court stated that, according to its case-law, the principle of equality of arms requires each party to be given a reasonable opportunity to present his or her case. Furthermore, according to that rule, parties have a right to provide evidence and discuss all evidence adduced or observations filed with a view to influencing the court’s decision. There was a violation of Article 6 § 1.
Other alleged violations of the Convention
Invoking Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, Mr Pocius further complained that the length of the proceedings before the Lithuanian courts was excessive. The Court finds that the length of the proceedings in issue did not exceed the “reasonable time” requirement of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. It follows that this complaint should be dismissed as manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 § 3 and § 4 of the Convention.
Costs and expenses: The Court held that Lithuania was to pay Mr Pocius 3,500 Euros in respect of non-pecuniary damages.