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Supreme Court of Denmark

Rejection of application for visit from reporter 
04-09-2013 

Case no. 105/2013
   

Judgment delivered on 4 September 2013

The Prosecution
vs.
T

Remand prisoner's application for a visit from a reporter for the purposes of a television interview was rejected.

T had been remanded in custody since December 2010, originally due to a charge in a Danish criminal case with genocide committed in Rwanda. After the Danish Ministry of Justice had decided that T could be extradited for criminal prosecution in Rwanda, he had been remanded in custody under the Danish Extradition Act.

One of the reasons for T being remanded in custody was that according to the information received in the case on T's family and other network with relations to Rwanda, T could hamper the criminal case against him and that, based on the serious nature of the charges against him, there were specific reasons to assume that he would do so.

The Regional Public Prosecutor rejected T's application for a visit in prison from a reporter for the purposes of a television interview, stating that this would be in contravention of the purpose of the custody. T brought the case before the Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Court stated that considerations regarding T's freedom of speech and the media's access to information strongly indicated that T should be allowed an interview with the reporter. The charge concerned matters committed in 1994, and T had been remanded in custody for almost three years. Furthermore, the extradition proceedings had taken place in open court with the presence of media representatives.

 

However, the Supreme Court did not find that there was any basis for setting aside the Regional Public Prosecutor's assessment that the requested interview could harm the continued investigation of the case. No framework had been defined for the television interview and, hence, the fact that T had previously given his statement in open court could not be attributed decisive importance.

According to the information received on possible, unnamed witnesses, there was no basis for setting aside the Regional Public Prosecutor's assessment that the risk of influence could not be sufficiently prevented by the police monitoring the visit.

Consequently, following the weighing of, on the one hand, the regard to T's freedom of speech and the freedom of the press and, on the other hand, the regard to avoiding the risk of influencing witnesses and other people involved in the case, it was found that there was no basis for allowing T to give an interview about the case.

This was not in contravention of s. 77 of the Danish Constitutional Act or s. 10 of the European Human Rights Convention.

The Supreme Court therefore upheld the Regional Public Prosecutor's rejection.

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