View Adopted: 2021.07.02
The author is a national of New Zealand who was sentenced to community work for an unspecified offence which was later canceled by the District Court of Wellington’s judge upon completion. However, due to a clerical error, the community work sentence was not canceled in either the Court’s record sheets, or its electronic case system. The author was unduly arrested for the same charges and released after 15 hours and 22 minutes. The author sought compensation for her arrest and detention. Domestic courts denied her request for compensation. The author alleges a violation of article 9 (1) alone and read in conjunction with article 2(3) of the Covenant for failing to provide her with a remedy for her arbitrary and unlawful detention and article 9 (5) for failure to compensate.
The Committee considers the case admissible for all the claims made by the author.
The Committee interprets article 9 (5) in the sense that it does not require that a single procedure for compensation be established, but a “legal framework” that provides compensation in all of the cases of article 9 (5) must exist. Simply releasing an individual from unlawful detention does not suffice. Therefore, in the present case, the Committee considers that the obligation to compensate still applies. The purpose of such compensation is not to undermine the independence of the judiciary, but rather provide redress for harm suffered. The Committee is therefore of the view that the fact before it disclose a violation of the author’s rights under articles 9 (1) and 9 (5) of the Covenant.
The State party is obligated to, inter alia: provide the author with adequate compensation. The State party is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future, including by reviewing its domestic legislation, regulations and/or practices to ensure that individuals who have been unlawfully arrested or detained as a result of judicial acts or omissions may apply to receive adequate compensation, in accordance with the obligation set forth under the Covenant.
Deadline for implementation: January 2, 2022
Committee’s assessment 136th session (CCPR/C/136/3):
Committee’s decision: Follow-up dialogue ongoing. The Committee will request a meeting with a representative of the State party during one of its future sessions.