Mauer v. Austria (79/1995/585/671 & 80/1995/586/672) 18 February 1997: administrative criminal proceedings for traffic offences; fair and public hearing

Austria - administrative criminal proceedings for traffic offences

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 1, 3 (c) AND 3 (d) OF THE CONVENTION

29. With regard to the first set of proceedings, the applicant alleged that he had not had a fair and public hearing before a tribunal and had not been allowed to defend himself in person. He alleged a violation of Article 6 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention in this respect.

With regard to the second set of proceedings, he claimed that contrary to Article 6 1 and 3 (d) he had not had a fair hearing and that witnesses whom he had sought to bring forward had not been heard.

Article 6 of the Convention, in so far as relevant, provides as follows:

"1. In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] tribunal ...

3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;

(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

The Commission considered that Article 6 had been violated. The Government did not contest this.

30. The Government acknowledged that the substantive issues under Article 6 of the Convention raised by the present cases were the same as in the cases of Schmautzer, Umlauft, Gradinger, Pramstaller, Palaoro and Pfarrmeier v. Austria (judgments of 23 October 1995, Series A nos. 328 A-C and 329 A-C) and should be decided in the same way for the reasons set out in those judgments.

31. In each of the six earlier cases, the Court found that there had been a violation of the applicant's right to "access to a tribunal" and, in view of that finding, considered it unnecessary to rule specifically on the applicant's other complaints under Article 6.

There is no reason to follow a different approach in the present case.

Accordingly, the Court finds that there has been a violation of Article 6 1 in each set of proceedings.

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