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Czech law

Reporting information on Criminal Proceedings, Offenders, Accomplice, Participant and victims of a Crime

The Personal rights are protected not only by the Private law but the Criminal law in the Czech republic plays an important role. The upcoming two posts will discuss the problem of reporting restrictions that were added to the Criminal Procedure Code in 2009 and criminal offences against personal rights (defamation, data protection) and intellectual property that despite duplicity in Civil Code prevail.

Act No. 141/1961 Coll., on Criminal Process (Criminal Procedure Code) contains Section 8a that obliges the bodies active in the criminal to ensure that the clarification of matters important for the criminal proceedings is not jeopardized, that information concerning the persons involved in the criminal proceedings which is not directly connected to criminal activity is not published. The principle that until a guilty verdict is expressed by a lawful ruling is it is not  possible to consider the person against whom criminal proceedings are brought to be guilty.  They shall take care in particular to ensure the protection of personal data and privacy of persons under 18 years of age.

In the preliminary proceedings these bodies must not publish information enabling the  determination of the identity of the person against whom criminal proceedings are brought, or of the injured party, involved persons and witness. Such a legislative scope is very excessive and caused uncertainty about to what extent the media can inform about the person that is public figure (e.g. in cases of corruption) as the thread of pecuniary sanction and imprisonment might be detrimental in respect of freedom of expression and information. However, from the case law, where there is a public interest the prohibition does not apply.

In Section 8b  Persons to whom information concerning persons has been provided for the purposes of the criminal proceedings or for the exercise of rights or fulfillment of obligations stipulated by a separate legal prescription must not provide this information to any other party unless if the publication of such information is essential for the purposes of search of persons or in order to achieve the purpose of the criminal proceedings, or if there is a public interest the prohibition of publishing the information does not apply. It also does not apply if the injured party provides prior written consent to the publication of such information.[1]

In connection with a criminal offence committed against an injured party, no person may publish information in any manner enabling the determination of the identity of an injured party who is a person under 18 years of age, or against whom the criminal offence of murder, killing, grievous bodily harm, against pregnancy, human trafficking, kidnapping, or any of the criminal offences against freedom and human dignity.

Publication of visual images, visual and audio recordings or other information concerning the course of the main trial or public hearing, which would enable the determination of the identity of an injured party is prohibited.

The lawful ruling must not be published within public means of communication stating the first name or first names, surname and residence of an injured party. The Chairman of the Senate, taking into account the person of the injured party and the nature and character of the criminal offence which has been committed, may decide on further restrictions in connection with the publication of the legal guilty verdict for the purposes of appropriate protection of the interests of such an injured party.

In respect of publishing the information concerning the interception or telephone recording, including its order, performance and actual content, without the consent of the concerned person, Section 8c states that unless this act or a separate legal prescription stipulates otherwise, no person may publish information concerning the ordering or performance of bugging and recording of telecommunications operation in accordance or information obtained from such action, information about telecommunications operation determined on the basis of a command, or information obtained by means of monitoring of persons without the consent of the person to whom such information relates, if such information enables the determination of the identity of this person and if this information has not been used as evidence in proceedings before a court.

 In practice in reporting the preliminary proceedings the name is abbreviated and only first capital letters of the name and surname is used. When the place of the crime is small than only a capital letter of either name or surname is used. If the convicted person is minor that the name is not published, the appearance might be used with identification prevention (defocus face, eyes). In any other cases the convicted person is names and appearance used. The victims are highly protected.

Furthermore, The Protection of personal data Act, Act No. 101/2000 Coll. states a penalty for publishing the information about the victims – pictures or other data. The penalty can amount up to CZK 1 million.


[1] in the case that the injured party is younger than 18 years of age or is incapable of performing legal functions, or if such a person’s capability of performing legal functions is limited, such consent must be provided by the injured party’s legal representative.

Full version of The Criminal Procedure Act

 

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About ondrejovae

Czech Attorney/Barrister located in Prague with specialization in media law and protection of personal rights

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Barrister

Dear readers and followers, I would like to make an announcement that I have opened my own legal office. The website of the office is www.ondrejova.cz

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The Czech Image rights

The case law in 2015

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