CONSTITUTIONAL COURT: THE COURT MUST ASSESS ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS THE POSSIBILITY OF TAKING ACTION AS A SUPPLEMENTARY PRIVATE PROSECUTOR IN THE CASE OF FALSE ACCUSATION18 December 2018
The Constitutional Court underlined: in the case of false accusation, the courts have to individually assess the facts of the case and all circumstances of the concrete case in order to reach a decision in compliance with the Fundamental Law about taking action as a supplementary private prosecutor.
The authorities carried out an investigation against the petitioner of the Constitutional Court’s procedure on the basis of a reporting of crime that had been made earlier. In this procedure, the petitioner was registered and heard as a suspected person. However, subsequently the authority in charge terminated the investigation due to the lack of a criminal offence. The petitioner then made a reporting of crime based on false accusation against the person who had made the reporting of crime against him. An investigation had been started on the basis of the reporting of crime also terminated by the proceeding authority and the petitioner’s complaint against the terminating decision was rejected. At the same time, the authority informed the petitioner that he might act as a supplementary private prosecutor within sixty days. The petitioner had availed of this possibility, he had submitted charges as a supplementary private prosecutor, but the courts failed to proceed in the merits both on first and second instance levels. According to the courts, regarding the false accusation, the petitioner did not qualify as a victim as in his case the injury caused by the criminal offence was only an indirect one. The petitioner turned to the Constitutional Court by challenging these rulings of the courts.
The Constitutional Court has found the petition well-founded. It established that, both in the former regulation of criminal procedure and in the one presently in force, the lawmaker allowed the intervention as a supplementary private prosecutor – together with the right to turn to court – only for the victim and only under specific conditions. The courts acting in the individual cases are in charge of examining the qualification as a victim.
According to the Constitutional Court, the proceeding authorities should not have disregarded the fact that the petitioner had initiated carrying out the criminal procedure on the basis of the qualified case of false accusation. Indeed, in this case, the assessment of the directness of the injury requires another approach than in the basic case – elaborated and analysed in details in the case law. In the relevant qualified case of false accusation the falsely accused person was incriminated, i.e. the authority provided him with a well-founded suspicion, his data were entered into the registry and he was heard as a suspect. In the case of the petitioner, the injury caused by the false accusation qualifies as a direct one therefore his quality as a victim is well-founded.
However, in the concrete case, the courts failed to assess these facts with due diligence, thus their decisions restricted the petitioner without due ground in stepping up as a supplementary private prosecutor because of the qualified case of false accusation. Therefore the Constitutional Court judged that the decisions of the courts restricted the petitioner in exercising his right to turn to court that resulted in the violation of the petitioner’s right to fair court proceedings.
Judges dr. István Balsai, dr. Imre Juhász, dr. Béla Pokol and dr. Mária Szívós attached dissenting opinions to the decision.