Judge Juris Freimanis of the Riga Regional Court cannot be called a stranger for the Ventspils political elite. It was in the 2002 case, in which the former Economy Minister and current Ventspils City municipality’s Economy Department manager Laimonis Strujevics submitted a claim against Aivars Ozolins about disrespecting his dignity, when Freimanis, deciding in favour of the Ventspils fellow, felt as if an expert in the field of psychological conscience. The judges current day-to-day, however, features decisions in relation to the rights of Ventbunkers shareholders, decisions that seem to be in check with Aivars Lembergs’ scholar – millionaire Olafs Berkis.
Going back to ancient history (as ancient as ten years ago), Judge Freimanis’ verdict in the argument between Strujevics and Ozolins was based on the conclusion of anonymous psyche evaluation experts. I.e., he chose the official’s «vulnerability» as a priority criterion over the principle of free speech.
In his verdict he notes: «[…] In addition, the case’s legal assessment is confirmed by psychological studies that have confirmed and, in accordance with accepted psychological knowledge, every individual, regardless of whether it is official or ordinary member of the public, is under the risk of psychological «vulnerability».»
But Freimanis’ fervor for protecting psychology and «vulnerability» of officials does not end there. He continued: «Politicians, ministers and officials need to understand that «vulnerability» will be subject to external stress, because their professions are part of the so called “risky” professions and that society and the mass media will always pay attention to them and their work in a specific field of activities. However, no convention or law provides individuals, including journalists, to violate another person’s – politician, minister, official – psychological «vulnerability», thereby knowingly subjecting the said person to excessive stress.»
Freimanis’ discoveries in psychological jurisprudence went well for Strujevics, and the question regarding whether journalists should turn to professional psychologists in order to evaluate some specific official’s «vulnerability» threshold, remains unanswered.
Currently, Freimanis is busy reviewing the claim of the minority shareholders of Ventbunkers. As a result, the claim of Kement, Investment Activity and Topmar Baltic Investments (historically related to Ventspils transit businessmen Olafs Berkis and Oleg Stepanov) against Airtech, Eurocom International Limited, Lawyer Rudolf Meroni, as well as Mikhail Dementyev, Janis Haze, Alvis Haze, Aivis Landmanis, Harands Francs, Diana Jukne, Aivars Gobins, Arita Linda, Daimars Skutane, Alexander Popov, Gints Laivins-Laivinieks and Deivids Gajis Anstis was satisfied.
The accused reacted to this decision with a notable degree of shock, saying that Judge Juris Freimanis had once again made an absurd decision when reviewing the claim of Ventbunkers minority shareholders.
It should be noted that Freimanis’ reputation has not been entirely clean before as well. He was mentioned in the media to be related to questionable and surface decisions on multiple occasions, acted in contradiction to the legislation of the Republic of Latvia, Constitutional Court and the practice of the Civil Division of the Supreme Court.
«The verdict made by Judge Freimanis and in accordance with which the accounts of the legal Board and Council members of Ventbunkers were frozen is, in its core, one big judicial bubble, which is being pumped solely to make Aivars Lembergs’ scholars – Olafs Berkis and his associates – legitimate Board and Council of Ventbunkers. It is also quite suspicious that the claim from the minority shareholders of Ventbunkers ended up specifically on the desk of Judge Freimanis and not any one of 40 other Riga Regional Court judges,» – Ventbunkers representatives.
Journalist Lato Lapsa’s book «Tiesāšanās kā ķēķis», which features unsanctioned and silenced telephone conversations of the People’s Party related Andris Grutups with sources within the Latvian Court system, also mentions someone named Juris Frimanis.
This Judge Frimanis, who may or may not be Freimanis, is offered to receive a gift – lawyer Gutups’ book about property reform in Latvia, to which the judge replies that «he has nothing against receiving it». Then Gutups offers to write down “the most interesting pages”, noting that «gifts are not to be pushed».
It should be added that Lato Lapsa is not the only one to be «concerned» about the judges’ reputation. Justice Minister Janis Bordans, finally, started paying attention to the image a judge. He previously said in an interview to BNS that «Latvian judges should think about improving their bad reputation». He expressed his confusion, why judges do not do this on their own to improve their image in the eyes of the people. He also said that the fact that many important questions are discussed behind closed doors, does not contribute to the situation.
The question of just how many more judges are on good terms with Ventspils and how long this «friendship» will last, also remains open to this day.