Note on Supreme Court Judgment 1805/2024 of April 10

Note on Supreme Court Judgment 1805/2024 of April 10

Violation of the right to honour and one's own image by a judicial report (events) concerning a crime that occurred 36 years ago

The High Court finds a violation of rights in the publication of a report on a double murder that occurred in 1984, which included two unpixelated photographs with full identification by name and surname.

The Supreme Court considers that, given the passage of time, there is a serious violation of the right to honour and one's own image that is not protected by the freedom of information, as the lengthy passage of time diminishes the public relevance of the event. Furthermore, the Court assesses that the full identification of the person responsible for the events, including their image, undermines the individual’s expectations of reintegration into society once they have served their criminal sentence and reintegrated into society. Underlying this interesting judgment is a link between the claims of the right to be forgotten and the expectations of individual resocialization, which are enshrined in the constitutional aims for custodial sentences (Article 25.2 of the Spanish Constitution).

The judgment, consequently, sets an important precedent in linking the right to honour, in its aspect of reputation expectation and the right to one's own image, with the need to respect a person who has been reintegrated into society after serving their sentence and achieving free personal development apart from the crime.

Another notable point in the resolution is the denial of the publication of the judgment, as it would be greatly contradictory to the request for erasure made by the victim of the information that violated their rights. Indeed, publishing the judgment would only endanger the individual’s established resocialization.

Finally, it is worth highlighting a trend that has been consolidating in recent years. I refer to the greater compensatory sensitivity of the Courts identified in civil jurisdiction compared to criminal jurisdiction when violations of the right to honour are confirmed. In the case commented upon, the compensation amounts to €18,000, an uncommon figure for those of us who mainly operate in criminal jurisdiction.

Link a STS

Photography: Carlos González Armesto