Right to return of property

In the course of the investigations or judicial investigation, certain property belonging to the victim may be seized, as it constitutes evidence and is therefore a means of determining the truth. For example, the victim’s car or clothes, in the case of sexual assault, can be used as evidence. If the property seized was not necessary to determine the truth, the owner may claim compensation from the State.

As soon as the items are no longer needed, the victim can ask for them back. They may also request their return at any stage of the procedure. The victim will have to apply to the Public Prosecutor, in the case of preliminary investigations or if the case has been dismissed, or to the judge at subsequent stages of the proceedings.
Once the return has been approved, the owner of the property has one month to claim it back.

Return is made in kind. The owner is summoned by the court clerk or the Office of the Public Prosecutor. They must provide proof of identity and justification for the return.

There are certain cases where property cannot be returned. When the property was the direct cause of the offence, or if it poses a danger to persons or property, the Public Prosecutor may refuse to return the seized property. However, this refusal must not violate the individual’s privacy.

Where return of property is refused, the victim has the right to appeal against this decision to the Investigating Division within one month of the Public Prosecutor’s decision.

I was a victim of a criminal offence: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of a criminal offence Criminal proceedings Who is who in criminal proceedings

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