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Supreme Court of Denmark

The "Røde Mellemvej" case 
04-01-2013 

Case no. 100/2012
 

Judgment delivered on 4 January 2013.

The Regional Public Prosecutor for Copenhagen and Bornholm (now: The Regional Public Prosecutor in Copenhagen)
and the Public Prosecutor
vs.
A and B

 "Røde Mellemvej" – No basis for compensation to relatives
On 1 April 2003, C was shot by a police officer on the street Røde Mellemvej in Copenhagen. Later that same day, C passed away.

On 20 October 2008, A, C's mother, and B, C's half-sister, sued the police, the Regional Public Prosecutor and the Public Prosecutor for compensation.

In its judgment of 5 May 2011, the Supreme Court held that the claim for compensation raised against the police by A and B was statute-barred.

The case then concerned whether the Regional Public Prosecutor and the Public Prosecutor were obliged to pay compensation to A and B for having unlawfully infringed their rights under the European Human Rights Convention. The claim was based on the handling of the subsequent investigation, as the relatives believed that it had been inadequate and flawed, which had led to a separate infringement of their rights as surviving relatives.

Although some parts of the Regional Public Prosecutor's investigation did give rise to criticism, on a general assessment, the Supreme Court found that the requirements for the investigation laid down in art. 2 of the Human Rights Convention had been fulfilled in the investigation conducted by the Regional Public Prosecutor and the Public Prosecutor.

The Regional Public Prosecutor concluded in its investigation that the officer who had shot C was exempt from punishment due to self-defence. It was not contested that it was a mistake when the Regional Public Prosecutor and the Public Prosecutor failed to recognise the two-month deadline for reversing the Regional Public Prosecutor's decision not to bring a charge against the officer. As a result, the Public Prosecutor was unable to consider the issue of whether charges should be brought, but the Supreme Court found that the Public Prosecutor would have come to the same conclusion as the Regional Public Prosecutor, if the Public Prosecutor had been given the opportunity to consider this issue. Consequently, the failure to observe the deadline for reversing the decision could not be considered to constitute an infringement of art. 2 of the Human Rights Convention.

The Supreme Court, thus, did not find that the Regional Public Prosecutor and the Public Prosecutor had infringed the relatives' rights under art. 2 of the Human Rights Convention in their investigation.

Similarly, there was no basis for concluding that art. 6 of the Human Rights Convention on the right to a hearing within a reasonable time had been infringed, as the processing time to be considered starts to run when the case is brought before the courts.

Consequently, the Court found in favour of the Regional Public Prosecutor and the Public Prosecutor.

The decision changed the High Court's judgment.

 

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