Judicial Council Suspends Judge for Refusal to Wear Face Mask at Courtroom

0
70
Face masks "for occasional use". (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 18 (TASR) – The Judicial Council on Friday temporarily suspended district court from Zvolen (Banska Bystrica region) Dalibor Milan, who’ve been refusing to wear a face mask in courtroom for months.

All 15 members of the council who voted – while the 16th, Mazak, didn’t vote as the submitter of the motion – were in favour of Milan’s suspension.

The judge’s barrister Peter Weis defended his actions by stating that the Public Health Authority’s face-mask mandate is legally null and void.

“It’s always necessary to protect independence of the judiciary in order to preserve democratic values, and this is even more urgent when people’s rights are being suppressed by state authorities enforcing unlawful decrees,” said Weis.

Milan said that he’s been pointing to legal nullity of the Public Health Authority’s decrees since the autumn. “I’ve always attended court processes properly prepared and in decent clothing.

I’ve always treated participants with decorum, without hubris or humiliating approach,” said Milan.

The Judicial Council two months ago decreed that enforcement of the face-mask mandate in courtroom doesn’t represent interference with independence of judges, but a requirement for the sake of public health.

Mazak: Anti-face Mask Judge Milan Can Be Ousted Completely

Milan can remain off bench for six months, with a possible extension of the suspension for the same period, but he also can be ousted completely, Mazak.

“I’m sure that the Supreme Administrative Court, which will become operational as of August 1, will deal with this proposal [for his removal presented by the Zvolen District Court chair],” said Mazak.

Milan has been refusing to wear face mask at court for months, claiming that the Public Health Authority’s decree to that effect is legally null and void.

“This is difficult to understand for a layman. If a judge claims that there’s no obligation by law [to wear face mask] and a decree means nothing, anyone could say: ‘A judge said so’. This is what’s dangerous here,” said Mazak.

Milan, a judge at the Zvolen District Court, in late May fined the court’s chair Mariana Philadelphyova €300 for disrupting a court trial, as she brought two police officers to a courtroom to call on him to put on a face mask.