Insufficient search for police abuse is not acceptable by the ECHR
Tarjáni v. Hungary 10/10/2017 (no. 29609/16)
Mistreatment by police authorities resulting in the transfer to a hospital with a broken leg and broken teeth. Insufficient investigation of abuse. Violation of inhuman and degrading treatment regarding the research.
The applicant, Attila Péter Tarjáni, is a Hungarian national who was born in 1976 and lives in Budapest. The case concerned his allegation of police brutality.
According to Mr Tarjáni, two police officers arrived at his home on 20 July 2015 following a quarrel with his wife and took him to the local police station. He alleges that he was assaulted at the station and was only taken to hospital when it became apparent that he could not walk. Two medical reports were issued as a result of his hospitalisation, the first reported that he had a broken leg as well as scratches and bruising; and the second further injuries, including broken and loose teeth.
An investigation was subsequently launched into Mr Tarjáni’s allegations. In December 2015 the prosecutor decided that there was insufficient evidence against the police officers to bring criminal proceedings and discontinued the investigation. The prosecutor based his decision on statements made by Mr Tarjáni, his wife and her daughter, medical staff present during Mr Tarjáni’s hospitalisation and three police officers. Mr Tarjáni’s and the police’s version of events differed considerably. Mr Tarjáni notably stated that he had broken his leg as a result of the ill-treatment in police custody; and his wife confirmed that he had no injuries prior to his arrest. The police officers, on the other hand, denied any ill-treatment, stating that Mr Tarjáni, who was drunk, had resisted arrest, obliging the officers to use force against him. In his decision to discontinue the investigation, the prosecutor also took into account a further medical report carried out in November 2015 by a court-appointed medical expert finding that Mr Tarjáni’s main injury, a broken leg, must have occurred prior to his arrest and that his credibility was in any case questionable due to his drunkenness. Mr Tarjáni’s appeal against that decision was ultimately dismissed in February 2016.
Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Tarjáni complained that he had been ill-treated by the police and that the ensuing investigation into his allegations had been inadequate.
THE DECISION OF THE COURT
No violation of Article 3 (treatment)
Violation of Article 3 (investigation)
Just satisfaction: 7,500 euros (EUR) (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 3,000 (costs and expenses)(echrcaselaw.com editing).