Barrister Released from Custody after Constitutional Court Finds Flaws
Bratislava, May 17 (TASR) – The Specialised Criminal Court on Friday released a barrister identified only as Martin R., who was in custody since 2019, TASR was told by his lawyer Pavol Antos on the same day.
The release was earlier ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Antos said that this verdict doesn’t mean that Martin R. was exonerated, but that his rights concerning being remanded in custody were violated.
“We’ve been witnessing a trend for quite a long time that the law-enforcement authorities try to ensure that the charged person stays in custody as long as possible, at any cost,” said Antos. He added that his client’s name wasn’t even mentioned in the first report accompanying the decision on custody, as he was remanded along with other charged persons.
According to him, the Constitutional Court has now decided that courts should deal with each charged person separately. At the same time the Constitutional Court has observed that it does matter with which crime law enforcement charges the person in question, as this has effect on the length of custody. Antos stressed that law enforcement seems to misuse the ability of charging people with more serious crimes, so that they can be kept in custody.
Martin R. was detained along with other 12 people in a crackdown against the Bratislava gang of Takáčovci in October 2019.
Bar: Verdict on Release of Barrister from Custody Should Rectify Rules
The Constitutional Court’s verdict that barrister Martin R. should be released from custody after more than 18 months should rectify the current strict course of action by courts when remanding people in custody in order to prevent evidence and witness collusion, the Slovak Bar Association (SAK) stated on Friday.
“We were perceiving very sensitively the course of action by law enforcement against our colleague, be it for a lack of clarity concerning the specification of the crime, for which he’s charged, and also for the inappropriate length of custody,” said SAK chairman Viliam Karas.
“We welcome the observation of the Constitutional Court, which in line with the opinion of the European Court for Human Rights noted that prosecution in custody of people active in law should be subject to the strictest scrutiny,” said Karas. He added that prosecution of barristers could discourage their colleagues from providing their services to clients, and thereby weaken public trust in the rule of law.