Case Petschulies v. Germany

Importance Nature Application Number Case language State Date (dd/mm/yyyy)
2 Judgement 6281/13 English Germany 02/06/2016

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Petschulies v. Germany - no. 6281/13

Article 5

Article 5-1-e

Persons of unsound mind

Preventive detention of violent mental-health patient in purpose-built centre offering appropriate medical care: no violation


The applicant complained in particular that his preventive detention went beyond the maximum period of 10 years permissible under the law in force at the time of his offences and conviction had been in breach of Article 5§1. On 7 May 1990 the applicant, having fully served his term of imprisonment, was placed for the first time in preventive detention. In view of the execution of another three-months’ prison sentence imposed for defamation, he had served ten years in preventive detention on 7 August 2000. By decision of 18 April 2005 the Regional Court ordered the further execution of the applicant’s preventive detention in a psychiatric hospital (Article 63 of the Criminal Code) instead of a detoxification facility as the applicant’s rehabilitation could be better promoted thereby. On 19 July 2011 the Göttingen Regional Court again ordered the applicant’s preventive detention, executed in a psychiatric hospital, to continue under another article (Art. 67d § 3 of the Criminal Code). The Regional Court found that the stricter criteria set up by the Federal Constitutional Court in its judgment of 4 May 2011 for a person’s preventive detention to continue beyond the former ten-year time-limit during the transitional period until 31 May 2013 were met in the applicant’s case. The applicant’s preventive detention was necessary in the circumstances and thus not arbitrary, despite the fact that at the relevant time it had already exceeded twenty years. The domestic courts had regard to the fact that, despite the considerable duration of his preventive detention, there was still a high risk that he would commit further extremely serious violent offences, such as dangerous assaults, if released (see paragraph 19 above). The Court considers that that assessment does not disclose any unreasonableness. The applicant’s detention was therefore “lawful” and “in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law” for the purposes of Article 5§1.