On the 29th of March of 2016 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a judgment against Spain in the case “Gómez Olmeda” ordering the payment of damages in the amount of EUR 6,400 (plus costs) for breach of a fair trial in violation of article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The European Court ruled that the Spanish Courts had failed to comply with the requirements of a fair trial by not holding a public hearing before convicting the applicant at second instance after he had been acquitted at first instance. The Court considered that a public hearing is necessary when an appellate court is called to examine anew facts taken to have been established at first instance and reassesses them, going beyond strictly legal considerations. The Court also concluded that there had been no particular reason for the applicant to request a public hearing as he had been acquitted at first instance and that the appellate court was under a duty to take positive measures to this effect, notwithstanding the fact that the applicant had not expressly requested a hearing to be held.
Other similar judgments by the ECHR are those of 8th October 2013 (case “Román Zurdo”), 8th October 2013 (case “Nieto Macero”) and 12th November 2013 (case “Sainz Casla”).