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Monday 17.02.2020 | Name days: Konstance, Donats

BNN exclusive: Lembergs’ loss of a lawyer is no excuse to prolong trial, says prosecutor

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Lawyer Irina Kauke and suspended Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs

The fact that one of Aivars Lembergs’ lawyers, specifically Raimonds Krastiņš, has left him due to health problems is no excuse for discontinuing court sessions for the time being. Lembergs has other lawyers who know the case very well, said the prosecutor in Lembergs’ criminal case Juris Juriss in an interview to BNN.

The court needs to review the case regardless

The prosecutor notes that after the announcement of Krastiņš’s departure from the process, court sessions originally scheduled to take place 26th and 27th June were subsequently cancelled. Juriss believes it should not be this way. «Lembergs has the right to look for a new lawyer if he needs one. I have no objections to that. However, the prosecution is against allowing him to do that at the expense of trial.»

Juriss stresses that Lembergs already has lawyers who can fully review the case.

«We have seen in the criminal process that he [Lembergs] already has a lawyer who has been part of debates from the very beginning,’ says the prosecutor. He means Irina Kauke. ‘During debates, she has covered topics that reflect the fact that she has been engaged in debates throughout the entire case. She also has a full grasp of the case and defends Lembergs in full capacity. Thus, it would be unfair to suggest she does something only to an extent, simply because it would contradict facts,» Juriss explains the prosecution’s stance on this.

«The fact that he [Krastiņš] has fallen ill, does not in any way narrow or limit the court’s duty to continue viewing the case with remaining lawyers on board,» stresses the prosecutor.

It is worth adding that Lembergs has been given time until the end of July to find a replacement for Krastiņš.

«The prosecution believes the court can provide any window to allow the search for a new lawyer, but it should not affect the number of court sessions. The fact that he [Lembergs] is looking for a new lawyer is no obstacle for us to continue viewing the case. Lembergs’ remaining lawyers are capable enough. He has the right to look for a third, but it is no excuse to postpone the trial,» comments Juriss.

He also adds that giving Lembergs a state lawyer would not be correct because it would only prolong the trial. «State prosecution has used 84 court sessions for debates. The new lawyer should at least go through materials – it is only logical. This may take more than 100 work days, however, which would be unreasonable.»

The prosecutor reminds that Krastiņš was one of Lembergs’ lawyers who actively tried prolonging the trial.

«We noticed that during debates he often focused on the same fact or switched to topics that had no relation to the case. This means he was trying to prolong the trial. The judge noticed this as well.»

Juriss also stresses that one of the biggest problems in Lembergs’ trial is that the law is being intentionally misinterpreted. He adds that the prosecution is often accused on not letting the defence to speak up even though the goal of the prosecution is to prevent attempts to prolong the trial.

«Prosecutors cannot allow a situation when they see an obvious breach of law. We [the prosecution] have said many times that with all the topics presented by Krastiņš during debates only prolonged the trial. The basic principle of criminal proceedings, as stated in Section 14 of the Criminal Law, is finishing review of cases within a reasonable time-frame,» stresses Juriss.

The next court session in Lembergs’ criminal case is scheduled for 19 August. Juriss also adds that even if Lembergs fails to find a new lawyer, the trial will have to continue regardless. Otherwise the trial will be prolonged without any justifiable reasons.

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