Press Release No: Individual Application 27/18
06.07.2018

PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING THE JUDGMENT FINDING A VIOLATION OF THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE FOR IMPOSING AN ADMINISTRATIVE FINE BASED ON AN ASSUMPTION

On 24 May 2018, the Second Section of the Constitutional Court found a violation of the presumption of innocence safeguarded by Articles 36 and 38 of the Constitution in the individual application lodged by Taner Koyuncu (no. 2015/11678).

The Facts

The applicant leased out his own car to a leasing company. This car was then leased out by the leasing company to a third person.  

The renter let an unlicensed driver (a person lacking drivers’ license) drive the car. Therefore, an administrative fine was imposed also on the car owner via the registration plate of the car, on the basis that the car was allowed to be driven by unlicensed drivers. The request filed with the relevant authority for the revocation of the administrative fine was dismissed.

The Applicant’s Allegations

The applicant maintained that the administrative fine was imposed by only taking into account his ownership status and without considering other factors, which was in breach of the presumption of innocence safeguarded by Articles 36 and 38 of the Constitution.     

The Constitutional Court’s Assessment

The misdemeanour in the present case is considered to be committed when unlicensed drivers are allowed to drive the car.

In the instant case, the questions as to whether the car owner acted intentionally and allowed the unlicensed driver to drive the car deliberately were not taken into consideration. Nor was any determination made in respect thereof. Therefore, the conclusion was reached on the basis of an assumption.

Besides, it does not seem possible to prove the contrary of the court’s presumption that that the misdemeanour was committed. It has been accordingly concluded that the applicant sustained a significant disadvantage, vis-à-vis the administration imposing the administrative fine, in respect of defending himself against the imputed act and proving the contrary; and that therefore, the assumption relied on by the authorities reached the level which is in breach of the presumption of innocence.

For the reasons explained above, the Court found a violation of the presumption of innocence safeguarded by Articles 36 and 38 of the Constitution.

This press release prepared by the General Secretariat intends to inform the public and has no binding effect.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey © 2019