Criminal law

New Era for the Rights of the Defendant?

On June eleven, 2019, the Hellenic Republic published in the Government Gazette legal guidelines 4619 and 4620 that ratified the new Criminal and Criminal Procedure codes, respectively. These two new legal guidelines apply to all criminal court docket complaints starting July 1, 2019. Many adjustments create a new fact inside the way crook trials might be held anymore, with pupils, judges, and lawyers arguing in the desire of or against the new machine. One trade that is worth highlighting is the introduction of the “Penal Order” («Ποινική Διαταγή»), as described via articles 409-416 of the brand new Criminal Procedure Code.

The proposal for this measure comes from the German Criminal Procedure and the “Strafbefehl” (articles 407-412 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure), which is a more simple procedure due to the fact it is without the responsibility of listening to that can be observed for minor criminal cases.

 Rights of the Defendant

In Greek regulation, the sort of “rapid-tune” courtroom order choice already exists for debt cases in the civil regulation manner referred to as “Order for Payment” («Διαταγή Πληρωμής»). According to article 409 of the new Greek Criminal Procedure Code, the “Penal Order” can be issued for Single-Member Court in first example jurisdiction offenses which might be punished with imprisonment of as much as three hundred and sixty-five days or with an exceptional or both consequences. In such instances, if the prosecutor manages the case and considers that the present proof does not require a stay listening to the defendant to verify the facts leading to guilt, he submits a utility for a penal order drawing an indictment. What follows, according to article 410 of the brand new Criminal Procedure Code, is a Judge can either recollect the proof submitted now as not sufficient for the guilt of the accused (and refer to the case in a normal manner) or think about the evidence adequate and without a hearing they will be able to trouble a criminal order implementing a quality decreased at the least -thirds of what’s prescribed in the criminal framework or imprisonment of up to 3 months on conditional suspension. Against the “Penal Order,” the convicted individual can publish “Objections” (article 412) within 15 days of the date the “Penal Order” has been served to him (and this can be the very point in time that a person reveals out he becomes accused, attempted and a selection turned into taken in opposition to him, with none previous knowledge, methods to be heard and guard himself). If the “Objections” are submitted timely, the “Penal Order” is overturned, and the case receives to be attempted in the everyday method (article 413).

The measure of “Penal Order” as delivered in Greece and without the relevant safeguards of the German model regarding the defense suggests (only when the accused has a reason recommendation can a penalty of imprisonment- now not exceeding 12 months and suspended on probation- be imposed) isn’t always like-minded the domestic standards of criminal law. It contradicts the rights covered by the European Convention on Human Rights. More especially, among the maximum important rights of an accused person are knowing the accusation, being heard through the court, and having a legal professional (nonetheless described in articles 89-108 of the brand new Code of Criminal Procedure). All the preceding and direction of the presumption of innocence are assured beneath the notion of a “Fair Trial” through Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

With the “Penal Order,” we have in the new crook procedure is a defendant who may be convicted without knowing the accusations towards him, without being heard, and without being represented through a legal professional. The treatment of “Objections” cannot be considered an ok shield because the accused starts his defense after conviction to try to overturn a selection against him. This is a blow to the presumption of innocence. A decision that may suggest imprisonment for up to a few months (with conditional suspension) taken towards a defendant, without representation by a defense attorney, is a blow to the accused person’s rights and the institutional protective function of the protection lawyer in the criminal justice gadget.

Furthermore, it can not be predicted what number of defendants may be capable of releasing “Objections” for “Penal Orders” against them and then following the ordinary manner, even from the point of view of the price range wanted. Not all can financially undergo trying to overturn a “Penal Order” whose first-rate may be lower than the money required to head towards it in courts.

One of the motives behind the adjustments within Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law has been the quest for quick justice. While undeniably behind schedule, justice can bring about no justice in any respect; attempts to gain rapid tactics can not be finished at the cost of the defendant’s rights. Yes, there is a need for measures to relieve the heavy backlog of Greek courts, yet changes need not assign the rights an accused character must experience given his prone situation. The new crook justice reality in Greece might be tested in exercise, and it’ll be shown if the new era will deliver greater justice or simply speed up the defendant’s rate.

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