a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 08-09-1999 / e) 26/1999 / f) / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 80/1999 / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
General Principles - Proportionality.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Individual liberty - Deprivation of liberty - Detention pending trial.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Procedural safeguards, rights of the defence and fair trial - Presumption of innocence.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Offence, criminal, future commission.
A provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure, according to which custody pending trial can be ordered if the person is accused of committing a crime which can be punished with imprisonment and there is a reasonable suspicion that they would commit another crime if they were released, is unconstitutional since it restricts the person's right to liberty ensured by Article 55.1 of the Constitution in an unnecessary and disproportionate way.
Custody pending trial in itself is not unconstitutional and indeed in some cases it is essential. As it is a preventive measure and not a form of punishment, pre-trial detention does not violate the constitutional principle of the presumption of innocence, which is enshrined in Article 57.1 of the Constitution, under which no one shall be considered guilty until his/her criminal responsibility has been established by a final judgment of a court.
According to Article 55.2 of the Constitution, anyone who has been arrested on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence shall promptly be either released or brought before a judge. The judge is required to hear the person brought before him/her and shall promptly decide in a ruling with a written reasoning whether the person should be released or charged.
In order to protect society it is sometimes justified to place a person accused of committing a crime in custody pending trial. This follows from Article 55.2 of the Constitution, in which the possibility of ordering detention pending trial is implied.
According to the Court, it is not in itself unconstitutional that under the Code of Criminal Procedure custody pending trial can be ordered if the person is accused of committing a crime which can be punished with imprisonment. However, it is disproportionate to the aim to be achieved by the legislator (i.e. the public interest) and therefore contrary to Article 55.2 of the Constitution, that Article 92.1.c of the Criminal Procedure Code allows for a person to be arrested in order to prevent him/her from committing another crime.