Judgment of the Constitutional Court of 2 July 2013 № 16-П on the review of constitutionality of  provisions of part one of Article 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation in connection with the complaint of B.Gadaev and the request of Kurgan Regional Court 

Legal issue: the right of a court – either at its own initiative or upon the motion of the victim of crime - to remand a criminal case to the prosecutors for the purposes of removing obstacles to its judicial consideration in the event when facts testify to the commission by the accused of a more grave crime  than he was actually indicted for by the prosecutors.
Ratio decidendi: the contested rules do not correspond to the Constitution – to the extent in which they obstruct an autonomous and independent choice of applicable criminal law provisions by the court in cases when the latter comes to the conclusion that factual circumstances testify to the necessity to categorise the actions of the accused as crimes of greater gravity. A wrong qualification of the offence leads to an unjust sentence which cannot be admitted in a rule-of-law State. 

Dissenting opinion:
  • When expanding the indictment with respect to a specific person and demanding to present evidence which would prove his guilt, the judge finds himself bound by such decisions. As a result, his inner independent position is jeopardised, and there may be grounds for suspecting the court of the so-called ‘accusatorial bias’. 

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Subject area:
Court Proceedings criminal procedure