Case of European Court of Human Rights, February 19, 1996 (case Botten v. Norway)

Resolution Date:February 19, 1996

Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion) Violation of Art. 6-1 (fair hearing) Costs and expenses - claim withdrawn


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No.

February 1996

Botten v. Norway - 16206/90

Judgment 19.2.1996

Article 6

Criminal proceedings

Article 6-1

Fair hearing

Public hearing

Oral hearing

Fairness of criminal proceedings before Supreme Court: violation

[This summary is extracted from the Court’s official reports (Series A or Reports of Judgments and Decisions). Its formatting and structure may therefore differ from the Case-Law Information Note summaries.]


Notwithstanding fact that applicant or his counsel did not raise themselves the matter complained of under the Convention, the Norwegian court could not be said to have been denied opportunity which rule of exhaustion was designed to afford to States, namely to put right the violations alleged against them.

Conclusion: objection dismissed (unanimously).

II.              ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION

City Court had held a public hearing, the fairness of which was undisputed - appeal proceedings in Supreme Court included public and oral hearing at which applicant was represented by counsel - issue to be determined was whether applicant's right to fair hearing was breached inasmuch as Supreme Court had given new judgment under Article 362 § 2 of Code of Criminal Procedure without having summoned and heard him in person.

That Supreme Court was empowered to overturn acquittal by City Court without summoning and hearing defendant in person did not in itself infringe fair hearing guarantee - however, necessary to examine whether, in view of Supreme Court's role and nature of issues to be decided by it, there had been a violation in the particular circumstances - not for Court to express view on whether Supreme Court's interpretation of Norwegian law was correct or to substitute its own assessment for that of Supreme Court as to whether facts in City Court's judgment were sufficient to ground conviction.

On question of liability, even with reference only to main point in respect of which applicant was convicted, Court not persuaded that prosecution appeal raised exclusively questions of law...

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