Rights and Position of the Accused PDF Print E-mail

 

The accused is a person, against whom criminal prosecution is being conducted. The accused is one of the parties to criminal proceedings. The Code of Criminal Procedure refers to this person by several names (according to the stage of criminal proceedings and position of this person).

 

Suspect – a person apprehended in compliance with the Code of Criminal Procedure, whose criminal prosecution has not yet been initiated.

 

Accused – a person, against whom criminal prosecution has been initiated.

 

Defendant – once the court orders main trial, the accused person is called the defendant.

 

Convict – a person, against whom the court issues a condemning judgment, which has already become final and effective, or a final and effective criminal order.

  

The accused is entitled in particular to

- criminal prosecution in lawful manner in compliance with the Code of Criminal Procedure

- assert all legal means and manners of defense

- to choose a defense counsel

- to file appeals and other remedial measures

- to propose evidence.

 

Within the frame of asserting the right to defense, the Code of Criminal Procedure grants the accused person a number of rights.

 

The accused is entitled to comment on all matters of fact and pieces of evidence, however he is not obliged to testify. He must be advised on this right. The accused may exercise the right to refuse testimony in any stage of criminal proceedings.

 

The police authority must serve the resolution on initiation of criminal prosecution to the accused no later than at the beginning of the first questioning. The accused person is entitled to comment on all matters, which he is being charged. He may comment in detail on the charges, in particular to coherently describe the matters forming the subject of the charges, to point out circumstances that diminish or disprove the charges and to offer evidence thereof. The accused person may be allowed to consult his own written notes before answering a question, however, he must show these notes to the interviewing person when requested. The accused person may exercise the right to state circumstances and evidence for the defense at any time of proceedings and the authorities involved in criminal proceedings are obliged to caution him of this right.

 

After the investigation is concluded, the accused person must be allowed to get acquainted with its results. He is entitled to review files and make notes thereof and make copis of the file or its parts at his own expense, however In pre-trial proceedings this right is limited.

 

The accused person is entitled to participate in hearing of his case in main trial and public session of court held on an appeal. Therein he has the right to comment on each piece of evidence produced and to make a final speech including the last word.

 

If the accused person believes his rights were harmed, he may request review of the procedure of authorities involved in criminal proceedings or to apply the following remedial measures in cases provided for by the law against decisions of authorities involved in criminal proceedings:

 

Complaint – remedial measure against a resolution

Appeal – remedial measure against a judgment of the court of first instance

Protest – remedial measure against a criminal order

Extraordinary appeal – extraordinary remedial measure

Petition for new trial – extraordinary remedial measure

Incentive for filing a complaint against the breach of law – this remedial measure is filed by the Minister of Justice

 

A very important right of the accused person is the right to choose a defense counsel or right to ask for appointing a defense counsel.

 

The accused person my chose a defense counsel on his own. The accused person himself charges the defense counsel with his defense (grants him power of attorney to represent him).

Defense counsel of the accused person may also be selected by his statutory representative, his relative in direct line, sibling, adoptive parent, adoptive child, soups, partner, companion or a participating person. In case the legal capacity of the accused person is limited, these persons may do so even against his will.

 

The accused person may also select several defense counsels, however, he is obliged to state which of them was entrusted with accepting documents and notifications of actions conducted within criminal proceedings. If he fails to do so, one of the defense counsels will be designated by the presiding judge and in pre-trial proceedings by public prosecutor.

 

In cases where the law specifically stipulates so, the accused person must have a defense counsel even though he did not choose or does not wish to choose one. These are cases of so called mandatory defense.

 

The defense counsel chosen by the accused person always takes precedence over a defense counsel selected by another person or a defense counsel appointed by the court.

 

Only an attorney may act as a defense counsel in criminal proceedings. The defense counsel may be substituted by an articled clerk in individual actions of criminal proceedings, with the exception of proceedings conduced before a Regional Court as the court of the first instance, before High Court or the Supreme Court.

 

Accused person, who does not have sufficient resources to pay the costs of defense counsel is entitled to a defense counsel free of charge or at a reduced fee. In such cases the costs of defense counsel are borne by the state.

 

The accused person has the right to consult his defense counsel even in the course of actions conducted by authorities involved in criminal proceedings. However, he may not consult the defense counsel on how to answer a question that has already been asked. The accused person is entitled to request that he is questioned in the presence of his defense counsel and that the defense counsel attended also other actions of pre-trial proceedings. In case the accused person is in custody or serving a sentence of imprisonment, he may consult his defense counsel without the presence of any third person. No other person may be present during such talk.

 

The accused person has the right to testify in his mother language, or a language he knows. If the accused person does not know the Czech language, an interpreter will be appointed. Not appointing an interpreter in such case constitutes a violation of the right to defense.

 

A juvenile accused person must have a defense counsel from the moment the measures provided for in the Juvenile Justice Act or actions stipulated in the Code of Criminal Procedure are applied against him, including urgent and unrepeatable actions, unless the action cannot be delayed and notification of the defense counsel cannot be secured.

 

Obligations of accused persons are in particular the following:

- to appear for questioning

- to allow a personal search

- to allow a house search, search of other premises and parcels

- to surrender items important for criminal proceedings

- to undergo an examination of mental state

- to allow bodily examination, withdrawal of blood sample or sample of other biological material.

 

 
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