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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta
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Unlucky for Lembergs - Parliament backs amendments to Criminal Procedure Law

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Aivars Lembergs

September 20, the Latvian Parliament supported amendments (in the second reading) to the Criminal Procedure Law – much to the disappointment of the accused Latvian politician, Aivars Lembergs.

However, the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee has changed the original version of the amendments, deleting the right of prosecutors, victims, the accused and the defence to add extra evidence to a court case.

This means that Article 496 on the right of prosecutors, victims, the accused and the defence to submit requests to the court will not feature the words “for additional evidence”.

Such a move followed the request by Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens and Farmers Union) and Andrejs Elksnins (Harmony Center).

Greens/Farmers is a political party traditionally associated with the influence of Lembergs.

Still, the law amendments for Article 455 say that prosecutors and the defence have the right to request relevant documents from natural and legal entities. The request must be made in a written form.

“Changes for Article 496 is an issue of legal technique. They do not jeopardize the very essence of the case,” says MP Andrejs Judins, one of the initiators of the amendments.

He explains that the Legal Affairs Committee said Article 496 either had to account for all possible requests or none.

According to Judins, he should have expressed his idea more clearly, but he took into account the views of lawyers, not sticking to it stubbornly.

He pointed out that the fact Reizniece-Ozola and Elksnins proposed to exclude certain words is “a different story.” He added that for the third reading rights lied down in Article 455 amendments should be extended also for victims.

Unity, Reform Party and the group of six independent MPs said in June that they wanted Article 496 to allow prosecutors, victims, the accused and the defence to ask the court for a permission to add extra evidence.

Lembergs previously told reporters that he associated the amendments with the criminal proceedings against him. He believes the move is a politically-motivated action against him – before the coming local elections.

Back then, MP Inese Libina-Egnere said she was glad that Lembergs could no longer influence the legislative process.

Arguing in favour of the need to amend the law, Judins previously said that parties involved in legal proceedings must not neglect facts that come into light during the trial.

Meanwhile, Ilma Cepane, Chairwoman of the Legal Affairs Committee, stresses that the decision whether to accept extra evidence must not depend on judges’ mood.

Ref: 102.105.105.2553


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