Judge Opens Trial of Those Accused of Journalist's Murder

Judge Opens Trial of Those Accused of Journalist's Murder

Pezinok, January 13 (TASR) – Amid huge media interest, Specialised Criminal Court senate chair Ruzena Sabova on Monday opened the trial of those accused of the double murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova almost two years ago.

A well-known businessman identified only as Marian K. is being tried for ordering the murder of Kuciak. Alena Zs. is accused of serving as an intermediary, while Miroslav M. and Tomas Sz. were charged with gunning down Kuciak and Kusnirova at their home in the village of Velka Maca (Trnava region) in February 2018.

Meanwhile, a prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office is also due to present charges relating to the older murder and robbery of entrepreneur Peter Molnar and the illegal possession of arms against Tomas Sz. and Miroslav M.

One of the witnesses will be Zoltan Andrusko, who confessed to serving as an intermediary between Alena Zs. and the duo Tomas Sz. & Miroslav M. and has already been sentenced to 15 years after becoming the first person to be convicted in the Kuciak murder case. Andrusko, who has cooperated with the police since his arrest, made a plea bargain for a ten-year sentence, but judge Pamela Zaleska’s senate deemed it too lenient and it was increased to 15 years.

The court has also called on former counter-intelligence director Peter Toth to provide testimony concerning his alleged assistance to Marian K. in screening journalists, including Kuciak, who focused a great deal of his activities as an investigative reporter on Marian K.’s shady business activities. Other witnesses will include Nitra-based businessman Norbert Bodor and senior figure of the Penta financial group Jaroslav Hascak.

Special judge Sabova’s record includes the sentencing of two former government ministers for the Slovak National Party (SNS) Marian Janusek and Igor Stefanov concerning a major tender that was only announced on a noticeboard on one of the construction ministry’s corridors. Sabova has also sent to jail a Bratislava gangster nicknamed Pito and his mob.

As around one hundred journalists applied to be able to attend the trial, it was decided that the proceedings wouldn’t take place at the Specialised Criminal Court in Pezinok (Bratislava region) but in the much larger premises of the Judiciary Academy next door.