Judgement 49647/14

Applicant name SAKAOĞLU
Applicant type Natural person
Number of applicants 1
Country Turkey
Application no. 49647/14
Date 09/05/2023
Judges Egidijus Kūris, président,
 Pauliine Koskelo,
 Frédéric Krenc
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 Violation
Reason Not prescribed for by law
Type of privacy Informational privacy
Keywords Purpose limitation; use of data obtained through criminal proceedings for disciplinary proceedings
Facts of the caseApplicant is subject to a disciplinary sanction, namely a transfer, which was imposed by the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors (“CSJP”) on the basis of evidence obtained when, in the course of a criminal investigation into alleged prostitution, the telephone line of the applicant’s girlfriend was tapped. After some months, the police found that the conversations recorded did not reveal criminal conduct, adding that the line was in fact used by the applicant. The reports concluded that the phone-tapping measure should be terminated; later it was announced that the police would also delete the data they had obtained. The applicant, being married, was subsequently accused of having an extramarital affair with said girlfriend; use was made of the intercepted conversations as evidence. Disciplinary sanctions were imposed. Applicant filed many objections, appeals and pleas for revision of his case, but was unsuccessful in his attempts, safe for the final appeal, issued several years after the sanctions had been imposed, in which the disciplinary sanctions were repealed.
AnalysisSeveral points stick out:
1. The government suggests that the applicant can no longer claim to be a victim, because the disciplinary sanctions had been repealed. However, the Court, inter alia, finds that the disciplinary sanctions were imposed for a considerable period before they were revoked and that the applicant had not been adequately compensated for the harm suffered.
2. The government suggests that the applicant has abused his right by not informing the Court in full about the fact that the disciplinary sanctions had been revoked. The Court dismisses this point, because the applicant was still a victim, even now the disciplinary measures had been revoked.
3. The main part of the judgement concerns the fairness of the trial. Applicant relies both on Article 6 and 13 ECHR, but the Court decides to discuss the case solely under the former provision.
4. As to Article 6 ECHR, the ECtHR refers to its previous Eminağaoğlu judgement, having overlap with the present case. The Court observes that the SCJP is not a “court”, and that in the Eminağaoğlu case, it had concluded that the proceedings before the CSJP were not such as to satisfy the procedural requirements of the right to a fair trial. The Court observed that the relevant legislation did not contain specific rules on the procedure to be followed and that the decisions handed down by the SCJP contained only rudimentary reasoning. The Court sees no reason to divert from that conclusion in the present case, and finds that the applicant was not heard by a ‘tribunal’ meeting the requirements of Article 6 § 1 ECHR.
5. As to Article 8 ECHR, the Court finds that the wire-tapping of the girlfriend of the applicant also interfered with his privacy, namely with his private life and correspondence. It refers to its previous Karabeyoğlu judgement, in which found a violation of Article 8 because the interference which had resulted from the use for disciplinary purposes of material previously obtained by intercepting telephone communications carried out in the course of criminal proceedings was not “prescribed by law”. The Court considers that there are no reasons to adopt a different conclusion in the present case. It underlines that the data obtained in the course of the criminal investigations do not appear to have been completely destroyed at the end of that investigation, despite the existence of minutes recording their destruction and that they were used as a key piece of evidence in the disciplinary proceedings against the applicant. Because Turkish national law contains a purpose specification and limitation principle, such use was not prescribed for by law.
Other Article violation? Violation Article 6 ECHR; no violation Article 13 ECHR
Damage awarded that the respondent State shall pay to the applicant, within a period of three months, the following sums, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable on the date of settlement :
EUR 10,140 (ten thousand one hundred and forty euros), plus any amount that may be due by way of tax on that sum, for non-pecuniary damage;
EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros), plus any amount that may be payable by the claimant by way of tax on that sum, for costs and expenses;
Documents Judgment