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Application no. 18967/02
against Poland

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 17 October 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr M. Pellonpää,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr L. Garlicki,
Ms L. Mijović,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
and Mr T.L. Early, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 1 August 2001,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicant, Mr Dariusz Pisarkiewicz, is a Polish national who was born in 1957 and lives in Łódź, Poland.

A. The circumstances of the case

1. Proceedings against the applicant and his detention on remand

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.

On 14 June 1998 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

On 15 June 1998 the Łódź District Court (Sąd Rejonowy) detained the applicant on remand until 14 September 1998. The court considered that the applicant was suspected of having committed a serious crime and there was strong evidence against him. There was also the risk that he might attempt to threaten witnesses or go into hiding.

On 24 June 1998 the Łódź District Prosecutor (Prokurator Rejonowy) dismissed the applicant’s request for release. His decision was upheld by the Łódź Regional Prosecutor (Prokurator Okręgowy) on 7 July 1998.

The applicant’s detention was subsequently prolonged several times by the Łódź Regional Court. Each time, the court repeated the reasons previously given for the applicant’s detention.

On 18 December 1998 the Łódź District Prosecutor indicted the applicant for attempted murder.

The court held the first hearing on 2 September 1999. The subsequent hearings were held at regular intervals ranging from 1 to 4 months.

On 5 June 2000 the Łódź Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) convicted the applicant of attempted homicide and sentenced him to 12 years’ imprisonment.

The applicant appealed on 14 September 2000.

On 22 January 2001 the Łódź Court of Appeal (Sąd Apelacyjny) quashed the first-instance judgment and remitted the case to the prosecutor for further investigation.

The applicant remained in custody.

On 30 March 2001 the prosecutor refused the applicant’s application for release. He found that there were no reasons for releasing the applicant.

The applicant’s detention was extended by the Regional Court on 23 March, 22 June, 17 August, and 16 November 2001. His appeals against those decisions and requests for release were dismissed.

On 6 July 2001 the prosecutor lodged a new bill of indictment with the Łódź Regional Court and accused the applicant of attempted homicide.

The Regional Court held 5 hearings at regular intervals.

On 30 January 2002 the Łódź Regional Court convicted the applicant as charged and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment.

On 22 October 2002 the Łódź Court of Appeal upheld the first-instance judgment.

On 12 December 2002 the applicant’s officially-appointed lawyer refused to lodge a cassation appeal on his behalf because he had found no grounds for doing so.

2. Medical treatment in prison

The applicant is currently serving his sentence in the Łęczyca Prison. In April 2004 he was diagnosed as suffering from a cancerous tumour in his neck. From the material submitted by the applicant, it would appear that he was provided with the necessary medical treatment. He was examined by different specialists, including oncologists, both in prison and in a civil hospital. He also underwent a biopsy and ultrasound and X-ray tests. On 26 July 2004 a prison surgeon recommended that the applicant undergo an operation (which was to be performed in a prison hospital). The applicant refused. On 14 June 2004 the applicant asked the Łódź Regional Penitentiary Court to grant him leave to receive medical treatment in a civil hospital outside the prison. On 20 September 2004 the court refused the request. It appears that the applicant’s appeal against that decision was dismissed on 23 November 2004.

B. Relevant domestic law and practice

1. Preventive measures, including detention on remand

The relevant provisions of the domestic law relating to preventive measures are summarised in several judgments concerning similar cases (see, among others, Kudła v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, §§ 75-81, ECHR 2000XI; Jaworski v. Poland, no. 25715/02, §§ 20-27, 28 March 2006).

2. Length of proceedings

The relevant domestic law provisions are set out in the Court’s judgment Krasuski v. Poland, no. 61444/00, §§ 34-46, ECHR 2005–V (extracts) and in Charzyński v. Poland (dec.), no. 15212/03, §§12-23, ECHR 2005-V.


1. The applicant complains that he did not receive proper medical treatment while in prison.

2. He further complains under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention about the excessive length of his detention on remand.

2. Relying on Article 6 § 1 he complains about the length of the criminal proceedings against him.

3. Lastly, he complains under Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d) about the unfairness of the proceedings and objects to their outcome.


1. The applicant complains that he has not received adequate medical treatment while in prison.

The complaint falls to be examined under Article 3 of the Convention, as lack of medical treatment may raise an issue under this provision. Under Article 3 the State must ensure that a person is detained in conditions which are compatible with respect for his human dignity, that the manner and method of the execution of imprisonment do not subject him to distress or hardship of an intensity exceeding the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention and that, given the practical demands of imprisonment, his health and well-being are adequately secured by, among other things, providing him with the requisite medical assistance (Kudła v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, § 94, ECHR 2000XI). On the other hand, that Article cannot be interpreted as laying down a general obligation to release a prisoner on health grounds or to place him in a civil hospital to enable him to obtain a particular kind of medical treatment (see Kudla v. Poland cited above, § 93). In particular, this provision does not require a prisoner to be transferred to a civil hospital if the expertise can be provided within the prison hospital. In this context, the Court observes that the materials supplied by the applicant do not indicate that he was not provided with the necessary medical treatment in prison. On the contrary, it would appear that during his imprisonment he regularly sought and obtained medical attention. He was frequently examined by different specialists. There is nothing to indicate that the applicant’s condition could not be adequately treated and monitored in the prison hospital. Moreover, in the event of an emergency the applicant could be transferred to a civil hospital. The Court notes further that the applicant’s medical consultants recommended that he undergo an operation, but he refused to do so. On the basis of the evidence before it and assessing the relevant facts as a whole, the Court does not consider that the applicant was subjected to ill-treatment within the scope of Article 3 of the Convention.

It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

2. The applicant complains under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention that his detention on remand exceeded a “reasonable time”.

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 3 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of the complaint to the respondent Government.

3. Relying on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention the applicant complains that his trial exceeded a “reasonable time” within the meaning of that provision.

The Court recalls that on 17 September 2004 the Law of 17 June 2004 on complaints about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time (Ustawa o skardze na naruszenie prawa strony do rozpoznania sprawy w postępowaniu sądowym bez nieuzasadnionej zwłoki) (“the 2004 Act”) entered into force. The applicant has not informed the Court whether, as required by Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, he took advantage of the new remedies introduced.

However, the Court considers it unnecessary to establish whether the applicant has complied with the rule of exhaustion of domestic remedies since the complaint is in any event manifestly ill-founded.

The proceedings complained of lasted approximately 4 years and 4 months and the case was examined by courts at four instances.

As regards the conduct of the authorities, the Court notes that the proceedings in all instances progressed at an acceptable pace. The courts heard numerous witnesses. Hearings were scheduled at regular intervals. Except for a delay at the initial stage of the proceedings, there were no substantial periods of inactivity for which the domestic authorities could be held responsible.

In view of the foregoing, the Court concludes that the proceedings complained of do not disclose an unreasonable delay within the meaning of Article 6 § 1.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4.

4. The applicant further complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the unfairness of the proceedings. He alleges that the courts committed errors of fact and law when dealing with his case and that their judgments were unjust.

The Court reiterates that it is not its function to deal with errors of fact or law allegedly committed by a national court unless and in so far as they may have infringed rights and freedoms protected by the Convention. Moreover, while Article 6 of the Convention guarantees the right to a fair hearing, it does not lay down any rules on the admissibility of evidence or the way it should be assessed, which are therefore primarily matters for regulation by national law and the national courts (see García Ruiz v. Spain [GC], no. 30544/96, ECHR 1999-I, § 28).

The Court observes that the applicant does not allege any particular failure to respect his right to a fair hearing. In the light of the material in its possession, the Court finds no indication that the impugned proceedings were unfairly conducted.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaint concerning the excessive length of his detention on remand;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza
Registrar President