Imprisonment on remand
Imprisonment on remand means that someone accused of a criminal act is held in prison before the actual criminal proceedings against him have started.
There have to be reasonable grounds to suspect the accused of a criminal act that can imply imprisonment for more than six months. “Reasonable grounds” means that it has to be more likely that the accused is guilty of what he is accused of than not. At least one of the following grounds must also exist:
A risk of him absconding and failing to attend court
A risk of him destroying evidence, for example by contacting or influencing witnesses, threatening witnesses or altering his testimony to fit that of others
A strong risk of a recurrence of the offence
- The accused asking to be taken into custody
The use of imprisonment on remand has to be weighed against the crime
Remand cannot be used if out of proportion to the offence the accused is suspected of. The judge will always consider whether imprisonment represents disproportionate intervention against the accused and whether other measures could be used.
Imprisonment on remand is more common in cases when the tariff is ten years or more. The requirement for evidence is stricter, in that there have to be circumstances that significantly enhance suspicion. In addition, particular consideration has to be given to whether releasing the accused is in the public interest or could create unrest. See link to section 172 of the Criminal Procedure Act at lovdata.no.
Has to be accountable
If the accused was not accountable at the time a criminal offence was committed, he cannot be imprisoned on remand in principle. If it is probable that proceedings for compulsory transfer to psychiatric care will be raised and the conditions for imprisonment on remand are fulfilled, the accused can also be imprisoned on remand.
The police will bring the accused before a judge. The prosecution will always attend a remand hearing, and the accused must always have defence counsel present.
Length of imprisonment
The prosecuting authority (the police) will ask for the accused to be held on remand for a certain period. The most common period is four weeks. After hearing both sides, the judge will decide the period of imprisonment on remand. Once that period expires, the accused must be released unless the prosecuting authority asks for an extension. A new remand hearing will be held in court. The accused can be released earlier if the grounds for imprisonment lapse.
According to Norwegian law, there is no maximum period for how long a person can be held on remand.
International human rights conventions do define criteria for when a case should be heard however. The term used is “within a reasonable space of time”. What is deemed to be a “reasonable space of time” has to be seen in the context of how complex the case is.
Media ban, letter and visitor ban
In the interests of the investigation, the court can rule that the accused cannot have access to the internet, newspapers, radio or TV.
The court can rule that the accused cannot have visitors, send or receive letters and the like, or use a telephone. Sometimes the court rules that visits, correspondence and phone calls can only be permitted if supervised by the police.
Complete or partial isolation
Partial isolation means that the accused is not allowed to mix with certain other inmates. They could be accused in the same case, and the isolation order is intended to safeguard the investigation.
In the event of complete isolation, the accused is not allowed to mix with any other inmates.
There are strict rules for the use of isolation. The duration of isolation is also kept to the absolute minimum wherever possible.
Consent to imprisonment form (several languages)