Novic v Public Prosecutor of Basel-Stadt

JurisdictionSuiza
CourtCourt of Cassation (Switzerland)
Switzerland, Court of Cassation.
Novic
and
Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Basel-Stadt.

Extradition — Conditions of — Principle of Speciality — Limit of Time during which Prosecution for Another Crime Prohibited — Jurisdiction — Offences Committed Abroad — Offences Committed in One Country with Effect in Another.

The Facts.—The appellant was in May 1948 sentenced to ten months' imprisonment in Basel-Stadt, but escaped to France before serving the sentence. In 1950 he wished to renew his Swiss passport, but as a fugitive from justice was unable to do so through the normal channels. He accordingly persuaded a former official of the passport office in Basle, one Buser, whom he had invited to France for the purpose, to ask an official of that office to renew the passport. At the instance of Buser, an official named Frei on September 17, 1950, placed the necessary official stamps on the passport. The required indications on the passport were then completed in France, in particular by the addition of the signature of the head of the passport office.

In August 1952 the appellant was extradited from France to Switzerland for the purpose of serving the sentence imposed on him in 1948. He was conditionally released from prison on February 18, 1953, and placed on probation for a year.

On January 25, 1955, Frei was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for forgery; Buser was given a similar sentence for inciting an official to commit forgery; and the appellant was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for inciting an official to commit forgery. These sentences were confirmed by the Court of Appeal of Basel-Stadt on July 8, 1955.

The appellant now asked the Federal Tribunal to set aside the decision of the lower Court. It was contended on his behalf, firstly, that the offence was committed in France and was not listed in the Franco-Swiss Extradition Treaty, and that Swiss criminal law was therefore not applicable. Secondly, it was contended that the appellant had been extradited from France for the exclusive purpose of serving the sentence imposed on him in 1948, and that according to the principle of speciality he could not be prosecuted for any other offence.

Held: that the appeal must be rejected. An offence which takes effect in Switzerland must be considered to have been committed there. The principle of speciality does not prevent prosecution once the person concerned has been at liberty for one month and has not left the country.

The Court said: “(a) The...

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