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Fiches Belges: Bulgaria

Psychiatric medical examination (303)



Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

The application of the measure in the framework of international legal cooperation is possible, after elaboration of respective request for legal assistance. Psychiatric medical examination /expert evaluation/ is a method for collecting and verifying of evidence. In cases when special knowledge in the field of science, art or technique is necessary for clarification of certain facts of the case, the court or the body holding the pre-trial proceedings appoints experts. The assigning, elaboration and acceptance of the expert opinion is performed in both stages of criminal proceedings – pre-trial and court stage. Psychiatric medical examination is an expert examination of the psychic status respectively the prerequisites for legal capacity or ability to take part in interrogation of a physical person – participant in the criminal proceedings, which shall be performed by experts who have special knowledge in the field of psychiatry and psychology. After performance of the necessary examination the expert shall draw a written opinion in which he/she shall state: the name of the expert and the grounds for performance of the expert evaluation; where it was performed; the assigned task; the materials used; the examinations performed and the applied scientific and technical means; the received results and the conclusions drawn by the expert.



International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959 and Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member-States of the European Union of 29 May 2000. Тhe Schengen Acquis – Agreement



* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

In cases of direct contact between the judicial authorities the following shall be observed: With regard to the pre-trial stage of proceedings: 1. If the request for legal assistance refers to organized crime the competent authority is the Specialized Prosecutor`s Office regardless of the place of commitment of crime. 2. In all other cases the competent authority is the respective first instance prosecutor`s office according to the rules of subject matter and territorial jurisdiction according to the Bulgarian legislation – art. 35 and art. 36 of Criminal Procedure Code of Republic of Bulgaria. If the crime is committed outside the territory of Bulgaria and the perpetrator is a Bulgarian citizen, the competent authority is the prosecutor`s office at his/her place of residence. In the same case, but if the perpetrator is not a Bulgarian citizen, the competent authority is Prosecutor`s Office in Sofia. With regard to the court stage of proceedings: 1. If the request for legal assistance refers to organized crime the competent authority is the Specialized Prosecutor`s Office regardless of the place of commitment of crime. 2. In all other cases the competent authority is the respective first instance court according to the rules described in connection to the pre-trial stage of proceedings.

* execute/recognise the measure (if other than the receiving authority)

As a rule the authority competent to receive the request is also the authority competent to fulfill it. According to the Bulgarian legislation in the pre-trial stage of proceedings there is a legal opportunity the prosecutor to order to the investigating authority /investigator, police or customs officer/ to assign to an expert performance of psychiatric medical examination.



Accepted languages for the request/decision

The request and enclosed documents shall be accompanied by translation in Bulgarian language or in one of the official languages of the Council of Europe. With regard to the prompt administration and fulfillment of the request it is recommended the latter to be translated in Bulgarian language in advance.



Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

In general no specific deadline is fixed, except for the cases described below /see p. 6a/ The practice necessitated the requests for legal assistance to be fulfilled as soon as possible, which usually takes between two and four months according to the factual and legal complexity of the particular request.



a. Special requirements

If necessary, in the pre-trial proceedings, the respective first instance court in panel of one judge and two jurors, upon request of the prosecutor, may place the accused in a psychiatric hospital for examination for a term of 30 days. In the court proceedings – the same may be done by the court panel, which tries the case. If the term proves to be insufficient it may be prolonged by the respective authorities with another 30 days. This term shall be considered as a custodial measure “Arrest”. The appearance of an expert before foreign judicial authorities is admissible only if a guarantee is received that the expert regardless of his/her citizenship shall not be subjected to penal liability for crimes committed until his subpoenaing. If the expert refuses to appear he/she may not be subject to compulsory measures. Judicial authority of another state may interrogate an expert who remains on the territory of Bulgaria by means of video conference or telephone conference.

b. Other useful information

The assignment of additional expert evaluation may be requested if the presented expert opinion is not complete and clear enough or a second expert evaluation – if the expert opinion is not motivated and gives rise to doubts in its correctness. The measure may be performed according to the procedure of the requesting state when it explicitly required so. In these cases the request shall be accompanied by respective extracts of the relative legislation, the application of which is requested. Bulgaria may allow officials and interested persons from the requesting state to be present at performance of the measure if an explicit request in this regard is made. The practice shows that a request for legal assistance sent by mistake shall be directed to the respective authority, competent to accept and fulfill it.

Last reviewed on 24 August 2016 by EJN Secretariat
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