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Court sees personal promotion attempts in claims about delays with Maxima tragedy case

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Erlens Ernstons, Maxima, Zolitude tragedy, important, Riga City Pardaugava Court denies claims made by a number of people about slow progress with the review of the criminal case regarding the Zolitude tragedy. On top of that, the court says those are attempts to secure positive personal promotion at the expense of the tragedy’s victims and such claims mislead society.

On Thursday, 21 November, one of the judges in charge of Zolitude tragedy case Erlens Ernstons told journalists about the discipline of participants of the process in attending all court sessions in spite of heavy involvement in other processes.

Court chairperson Adrija Buliņa said there are no reasons to believe the scheduled court session of 26 November might not happen. The court leaned that the sick judge Dzintra Zemitāne is unlikely to return to work. If this happens, the judge may be replaced with a reserve judge, in this case this may be Anita Grāvīte.

This means the review of the case will be continued and completed by a new team of judges.

Ernstons explains that the 11 September’s court session was postponed because of passing inability to work of the accused. The next court hearing was scheduled for 18 September.

On 13 September, information was received from judge Dzintra Zemitāne that she would take a sick leave on 14 September. Complying with the judge’s inability to work, the criminal case was taken from the review agenda five times, amending the criminal case’s review dates until 30 October.

Ernstons stresses that in accordance with the Law on Judicial Power, every state institution, public and political organization, other legal and private persons have a duty to respect and comply with independence of courts and immunity of judges. Any pressuring of courts, limitation of their rights, influencing, coercion or other illegal interference with the court’s work is prohibited.

«At the same time, it should be said here that we have noticed unacceptable desire of certain persons in the public space to secure publicity at the expense of the tragedy’s victims, misleading society into believing the case is being delayed, etc.,» said Ernstons.

«We would welcome such people’s desire to follow progress of the case on a regular basis, not on certain days only. This would help improve objectivity of facts about the process and promote better awareness among residents and victims,» stresses Ernstons.

He did not name the people who are attempting to increase their publicity at the expense of victims.

More on this topic: Maxima tragedy: Court rejects slow proceedings’ criticism, as victims protest

Judges also affirmed that considering the fact that the case’s end terms are associated not just with the size, legal complexity, attitude of involved parties and other objective conditions, it is not possible to predict any specific dates. Nevertheless, looking optimistically, the court allows the review of the case may be concluded in the first half of 2020.

21 November 2019 marks six years since the tragedy in Zolitude, when the roof of a Maxima supermarket collapsed, killing 54 and injuring several dozens.

Because of the sickness of Judge Zemitāne, planned court hearings have not taken place since mid-September. Now the next court hearing is scheduled for 26 November.

Read also: Exclusive | ReRe’s [ir]responsibility and Maxima Tragedy’s dusty trails. Interview with Artuss Kaimiņš

In June, the office of the prosecutor concluded debates, voicing opinions in regards to penalties for the accused.


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  1. Zerry says:

    Six years not slow?

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