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Case law

ECtHR, Bikas v. Germany

January 2018 - Germany

Presumption of innocence

The ECtHR found no violation of the right to presumption of innocence under Article 6(2) ECHR after the court took into account 50 similar incidents as an aggravating factor although proceedings on them had been discontinued. The applicant argued that the Regional Court had violated the presumption of innocence under Article 6(2) of the Convention when it stated in the reasoning of its judgment that it was convinced that he was guilty of those other acts.

The ECtHR found that the national courts had fulfilled the requirements regarding the assessment of evidence in accordance with the particularities of serial offences in the field of sexual abuse and recalled that Article 6(2) does not apply to allegations made about the accused’s character and conduct as part of the sentencing process. Therefore, in the ECtHR’s view, the applicant had been found guilty, in substance, also of the fifty further offences, to which a different standard of proof was applied. That standard of proof was sufficient, under domestic law, for taking these offences into account in the sentencing process, but not for formally convicting the applicant thereof.

You can read the full judgment here.

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