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Supreme Court of Denmark

Compensation after acquittal in criminal proceedings 
13-12-2016 

Case no. 196/2016
 

Judgment delivered on 13 December 2016


The Prosecution Service
vs.
E1 and the estate left by E2


Compensation after acquittal in criminal proceedings

In September 2010, the claimants, E1 and E2, were charged with social security fraud, because they had registered two of their children at an address in a Danish municipality, although the children had never actually moved to this address. They had also made false statements about their children's residence to the school authorities.

The District Court found E1 and E2 guilty of the charges in its judgment of 27 March 2012.

During the proceedings before the High Court, E1 and E2 claimed, among other things, that the District Court's judgment amounted to an infringement of the EU rules on freedom of movement. The Prosecution Service then launched an investigation into this issue and consulted, among others, the Ministry of Education, which in its statement of 22 May 2014 stated that children of EU frontier workers working in Denmark and residing in another EU country are entitled to be enrolled in Danish primary and lower secondary school and to receive funding.

Accordingly, the Prosecution Service claimed that E1 and E2 should be acquitted, which they were by High Court judgment of 23 October 2014.

E1 and E2 then proceeded to claim compensation for having been put through the criminal proceedings, which had lasted four years and one month.

The majority of the Supreme Court stated that the Prosecution Service should have conducted an investigation into the legal basis on its own initiative earlier, and that the claimants were entitled to compensation because the issue had only been settled definitively with the acquittal on 23 October 2014.

The majority of the Supreme Court thus held that they were to receive DKK 30,000 each as compensation.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.

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