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Retrospective legislation

Held: a statute of 1994 which laid down a stricter punishment for those convicted of a serious offence that had a previous conviction for a serious offence (even one committed prior to 1994) did not offend Article 7 as it applied only with effect from its entry into force. That a sentencing court had taken a 1984 conviction into account did not breach Article 7 as the practice of taking past events into consideration had to be distinguished from the notion of retrospective application of the law. The sentence imposed on the applicant had been applicable at the time he committed the second offence, pursuant to a “law” which had been accessible and foreseeable as to its effect. No violation of Article 7. Achour v. France (2007) 45 EHRR 2.

Facts: on 16 October 1984 the applicant was found guilty of drug trafficking. In 1994 a new law came into force permitting an increased penalty for a person convicted of a serious offence who had previously been committed of a serious offence, even if the previous offence predated 1994. In 1995 the Applicant was convicted of possessing drugs and sentenced him to an increased penalty in light of his previous conviction.

 

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