LUMOS provides pro bono legal assistance to the producer and distributor of CBD oils
Law firm LUMOS provides free (pro bono) legal assistance to the Latvian producer and distributor of CBD oils and products Adil due to groundless detention of its products by the Tax and Customs Police Department of the State Revenue Service.
Company products that do not contain prohibited substances groundlessly detained
The company was informed about the detention of the products by the courier service DHL, which was entrusted with the supply of oils containing cannabidiol (CBD) to the company in Latvia. Despite the fact that the company immediately provided the State Revenue Service with information on the supplier, origin and composition of the oils, after the detention of the products, criminal proceedings were initiated and an expert examination was ordered to determine composition of the said products.
The expert opinion concluded that the seized products contain cannabidol, which is not included in the lists of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors controlled in Latvia. Taking into account the said opinion, the criminal proceedings were terminated, however, the entrepreneur had to endure the detention of the ordered products for six months – the expert opinion on the goods was prepared only 5 months after their detention and the property returned to the entrepreneur after 2 weeks from the moment of preparation of expert opinion.
Returned goods had already expired and were opened for sampling and were therefore no longer marketable. From the moment of the initiation of the criminal proceedings until the moment when the decision to terminate the criminal proceedings was sent to the company, it was not informed at all that criminal proceedings had been initiated in connection with the property belonging to it. Consequently, the company was not provided with an opportunity to submit the certificates at the company’s disposal, which confirm the compliance of the property with regulatory enactments. Due to the situation, LUMOS has submitted an application to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Latvia on behalf of the client regarding compensation for the losses caused to the client.
The law provides for the right to compensation
Natural and legal persons receiving consignments from abroad often have to face their detention in order to check the compliance of the consignments with regulatory enactments. However, even if the result of the inspection is favorable, the person often suffers losses – the consignment is damaged or due to its long-term detention it can no longer be used for the intended purpose. In such cases, if an illegal or unreasonable action of an institution is established, a person has the right to compensation for damages in accordance with the Law on Compensation for Damage Caused in Criminal Proceedings and Administrative Violations (Compensation Law).
The case law of the Supreme Court of Latvia has recognized that it does not follow from the norms of the Compensation Law that only a private person who has been granted a certain criminal procedural status in the specific criminal proceedings is entitled to submit a claim for compensation for loss or damage in accordance with the said law. An investigative body may, by its actions in criminal proceedings, cause loss or damage to an individual even if the individual has not been granted any status in the particular criminal proceedings, i.e., he or she is not considered to be a person involved in the criminal proceedings. The fact that an individual has no status in the criminal proceedings in question does not in itself change the nature of the institution’s criminal proceedings.
It has also been recognized in the case law of the Supreme Court that the aim of the legislator, incorporating Section 2, Paragraph two of the Compensation Law, was to introduce a unified procedural procedure for compensating loss or damage caused in criminal proceedings and administrative violation proceedings, as differing loss or damage compensation procedures in similar situations would be in conflict with Article 91 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. Consequently, Sections 4 and 5 of the Compensation Law cover only the most typical and essential, but not all possible legal bases (cases) for compensation for loss or damage caused in criminal proceedings and administrative violation proceedings, and compensation may also be granted in situations not directly specified in the said legal provisions.
Section 382, Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Procedure Law provides: “Within the framework of criminal proceedings, the person conducting the proceedings shall select and perform procedural activities in order to ensure the achievement of the objective of the criminal proceedings as quickly and economically as possible.” And in accordance with Section 14, Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Procedure Law: “The person conducting the proceedings shall choose the simplest type of criminal proceedings corresponding to specific circumstances and shall not allow unjustified interference in a person’s life and unreasonable expenses.”
In case of detention of a consignment, it is recommended that the person turns to a qualified legal aid provider and takes into account the following:
- the Compensation Law provides for the right to receive compensation for damage if an institution, including the State Revenue Service or the police, has damaged a person’s property or rendered it unusable in the process of detaining or inspecting the consignment;
- a person may receive compensation even if he or she has not been granted any status in the specific criminal proceedings;
- the Compensation Law specifies only the most typical and significant, but not all possible cases of compensation for losses caused in criminal proceedings and administrative violation proceedings; consequently, a person has the right to receive compensation for losses also in cases not directly specified by law;
- in order to receive compensation, a person must apply to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Latvia; the application is reviewed and a response is provided to the addressee within 3 months of receipt.
Law firm LUMOS provides clients with legal assistance in criminal proceedings and administrative violation cases, in certain cases undertaking to provide clients with free legal assistance.
 Decision of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia of 18 October 2019 in case No. A420255418, SKA-1533/2019
 Supreme Court decision of November 14, 2018 in case No. SKA-1081/2018 (ECLI: LV: AT: 2018: 1114.SKA108118.4.L) paragraph 12-13