Trials in absentia

Federal Republic of Germany

Criminal Procedure Code (Strafprozeßordnung, StPO)

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VI
MAIN HEARING

Section 230.
[Failure of the Defendant to Appear]

(1) No main hearing shall be held against a defendant who fails to appear.
(2) If there is no sufficient excuse for the defendant’s failure to appear, an order shall be made to bring him before the court, or a warrant of arrest shall be issued .

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VI
MAIN HEARING

Section 231.
[Defendant’s Duty to Bebe Present]

(1) A defendant who has appeared may not absent himself from the hearing. The presiding judge may take appropriate measures to prevent the defendant from absenting himself; he may also have the defendant kept in custody during an interruption of the hearing.
(2) If the defendant nevertheless absents himself, or fails to appear when an interrupted main hearing is continued, the main hearing may be concluded in his absence if he has already been examined on the indictment and the court does not consider his further presence to be necessary .

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VI
MAIN HEARING

Section 231a.
[Unfitness to Stand Trial Caused with Intent]

(1) If the defendant wilfully and culpably placed himself in a condition precluding his fitness to stand trial, and if, as a result, he knowingly prevents the proper conduct or continuation of the main hearing in his presence, the main hearing shall, in a case where he has not yet been heard on the charges, be conducted or continued in his absence, unless the court considers his presence to be indispensable. The procedure pursuant to the first sentence shall only apply if the defendant, after the opening of main proceedings, has had the opportunity to make a statement on the charges before the court or a commissioned judge .

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VI
MAIN HEARING

Section 231b
[Absence Because of Disorderly Conduct].

(1) If the defendant is removed from the courtroom or committed to prison because of disorderly conduct (section 177 of the Courts Constitution Act), the hearing may be conducted in his absence if the court does not consider his further presence to be indispensable and as long as it is to be feared that the defendant’s presence would be seriously detrimental to the progress of the main hearing. In any event, the defendant shall be given the opportunity to make a statement on the charges .

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VI
MAIN HEARING

Section 232
[Main Hearing Despite the Defendant’s Failure to Appear]

(1) The main hearing may be held in the defendant’s absence if he was properly summoned and the summons referred to the fact that the hearing may take place in his absence and if only a fine up to 180 daily units, a warning with sentence reserved, a driving ban, forfeiture, confiscation, destroying or making an item unusable, or a combination thereof, is to be expected. A higher penalty or a measure of reform and prevention may not be imposed in these proceedings. Withdrawal of permission to drive shall be admissible if the defendant has been made aware of this possibility in the summons.

(2) The main hearing shall not take place without the defendant if the summons was effected by publication.

(3) The record of a judicial examination of the defendant shall be read out at the main hearing.

(4) A judgment given in the defendant’s absence must be served on him personally, together with reasons for the judgment, if it is not served on his defence counsel pursuant to Section 145a subsection (1).

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VIII
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ABSENT ACCUSED

Section 285
[Securing Evidence]

(1) No main hearing shall be held in respect of a person who is absent. Proceedings instituted against an absent accused shall serve the purpose of securing evidence in anticipation of his future presence in court .

PART TWO
PROCEEDINGS AT FIRST INSTANCE

CHAPTER VIII
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ABSENT ACCUSED

Section 286
[Defence Counsel]

Defence counsel may represent the defendant. Relatives of the defendant shall also be permitted to act as representatives, even without a power of attorney .

Rome Statute

Article 63 Trial in the presence of the accused

1. The accused shall be present during the trial.