As with all the other terms describing vulnerable groups in Article 5(1)(e), the word ‘alcoholic’ carries an autonomous Convention meaning. The Court gave some indication as to how it should be interpreted in the first case to come before it concerning detention for drunkenness (Witold Litwa v Poland). The applicant was apprehended by the police for drunkenness. He was taken to a sobering-up centre, where he was certified by a doctor as being ‘moderately intoxicated’ and held for six and a half hours.
The applicant’s arrest and detention therefore in principle fell within the scop of Article 5(1)(e) (nota de subsol 193 – However, the Court found that there had been a violation of Ar. 5(1) because there was no evidence that the applicant had behaved in such a way as to pose a threat to himself or others or that the draconian measure of detention was necessary in the light of the rather trivial facts of the case). An individual could not be deprived of his liberty for being an ‘alcoholic’ unless other, less severe, measures had been considered and found to be insufficient to safeguard the individual or public interest. (s.n. – M.M.-B.)
B. Rainey, E. Wicks, C. Ovey
(Jacobs, White, and Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford University Press, ediția a 7 a, data apariției: 14 septembrie 2017, la pp. 261-2)