The Constitutional Court of Turkey's decision numbered 2022/120 E. 2023/107 K. and dated June 1, 2023, has annulled Articles 5 to 14 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which are related to the deferment of the pronouncement of the verdict (DPV).
What is DPV?
Code of Criminal Procedure Article 231: If the punishment imposed on the defendant for the alleged crime is imprisonment or a fine for a term of two years or less, the court may decide to defer the pronouncement of the verdict. Deferment of the pronouncement of the verdict means that the verdict does not have any legal consequences for the defendant. If the decision of deferment of the pronouncement of the verdict is made, the defendant will be under supervision for five years. If no intentional new crime is committed during the supervision period and the obligations related to probation measures are met, the deferred verdict will be lifted, and the case will be dismissed.
Reasons for the Annulment of DPV are as follows:
- A defendant who is asked whether they want to defer an undecided verdict is forced to predict the outcome of the trial without all doubts being cleared, and they have to make a statement with an unenlightened will. At the beginning of the trial, a defendant who accepts DPV cannot have the right to a fair trial checked through the appellate process, leading to human rights violations.
- Depriving the defendant of the right to appeal against the verdict without relying on a valid waiver of rights limits both the right to request the review of the verdict and the right to access to court.
- A defendant without a conviction is put in a vulnerable position against the existence of a conviction threat and forced to waive the yet-unborn right to appeal.
- The opportunity to verify whether the limitation made through expropriation on the right to property is arbitrary or contrary to law is suspended, and the uncertainty during the execution of the expropriation decision, along with the DPV decision, burdens the owners excessively.
- In cases where there is disproportionality between the crime and the punishment or when no punishment is imposed at all, the lack of a deterrent effect results in the failure of the state's positive obligation to protect the physical and mental integrity of individuals.
- DPV results in the defendant not receiving an enforceable punishment, and it does not require the consent of the victim or ensure any moral compensation for the victim. This situation leads to the DPV decision not providing sufficient and effective redress for the victim.
- While it is necessary not to leave the public officer who committed torture and ill-treatment unpunished, the absence of a regulation stating that DPV will not be applied to torture, torment, and ill-treatment crimes, and the inability of the courts to solve this problem is inconsistent with the state's obligation to punish the perpetrator and provide redress for the victims.
- DPV is insufficient in preventing arbitrary practices by public authorities and does not have a deterrent effect on the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Since the annulment of the regulation would create a legal void and violate the public interest, it was decided that the annulment would be effective as of August 1, 2024.
The annulment of the regulation leads to much confusion. To prevent these confusions and seek legal advice, you can seek support from expert criminal lawyers in Turkey.