On November 10, the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate adopted an ancillary decision in a criminal case on illicit activities with drugs, drawing the attention of the relevant officials to non-compliance with the Criminal Procedure Law in a criminal case, which led to declaring decisive evidence inadmissible and unusable.

The Senate found it necessary to inform the Director of the State Revenue Service Customs Board and the Prosecutor General about the failure of the expert of the Investigation Division of the State Revenue Service Customs Criminal Board to provide the suspect, who had previously requested the participation of a defence counsel, with a defence counsel. By an ancillary decision, the Senate draws the attention of officials so that a competent institution could assess the lawfulness of the said employee's actions and, in case of establishing a violation of the law, could take measures to eliminate the causes and facilitating circumstances of such violations.

The mentioned violations of the Criminal Procedure Law have manifested themselves in the process of performing investigative activities, when the responsible SRS employee has not ensured the suspect's right to the presence of a defence counsel. The provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law stipulate that in case a person who has the right to defence has made a request for the participation of a defence counsel, the waiver of the defence counsel may take place only in the presence of the defence counsel. By accepting the suspect's waiver from the defence counsel without summoning the defence counsel, and by questioning the suspect without the participation of the defence counsel, the basic principles of criminal procedure regarding the right to a defence and the right to a fair trial are violated, therefore the evidence obtained is inadmissible and unusable.

The Senate found grounded the conclusion of Riga Regional Court that the evidence was inadmissible, therefore left unchanged the judgment of the appellate court, by which the accused was found not guilty and was acquitted of the criminal offenses provided for in Section 253.1, Paragraph three and Section 190.1, Paragraph three of the Criminal Law. Namely, the accused was acquitted of the charges of unauthorized acquisition and possession of narcotic drugs for the purpose of sale on a large scale and for illegally transporting large quantities of drugs across the state border of the Republic of Latvia in an organized group.

By a judgment of Riga Regional Court, the accused was found guilty of a criminal offense provided for in Section 253, Paragraph one of the Criminal Law, namely for unauthorized acquisition and possession of a narcotic substance without the intention to sell it, and fined five minimum monthly salaries or 2150 euros.

Case No SKK-127/2020; 15890007015


Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
Tel.: +371 67020396; e-mail: baiba.kataja@at.gov.lv