bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 23.09.2018 | Name days: Vanda, Veneranda, Venija
LatviaLatvia

One day in a courtroom with Aivars Lembergs

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Monday, 12 March, yet another court session took place, during which the criminal case involving Aivars Lembergs, Anrijs Lembergs and Ansis Sormulis was being reviewed. A question often asked in relation to this situation is why this court process has been continuing for nine whole years with no end in sight. This time BNN decided to enter the ‘belly of the beast’ to look one of the court sessions from the inside.

Aivars Lembergs arrived first, wearing green trousers, a coat and hat. His choice of attire caused his lawyer, Irina Kauke, to say: «Oh my, how green!»

Once the two of them sat down, they started whispering among themselves in Russian. The two other accused – Anrijs Lembergs and Ansis Sormulis – joined the session shortly after by means of a video conference call.

Once judges arrived the session was declared open. The head judge Boriss Geimans said: «Today we will continue [heavy sigh] debates in this case.» Aivars Lembergs immediately voiced objections about the fact that the case not being viewed by episodes, as it was promised during the investigation. Geimans responded by saying he is unable to evaluate the work performed by the prosecutor. The discussion ended there.

Another curious thing to mention: Aivars Lembergs asked «if it is possible to speak more slowly, because the people listening are unable to hear everything said». Geimanss said he hopes this request will be taken into account. Lembergs said he understands that «every person has their own way of speaking». Geimanss cut him off by saying: «Very well. Thank you, I understand.»

Anrijs Lembergs asked about another ‘important’ part of the court session: «Excuse me, at what time will we be having lunch today?» Some of the people present took a deep breath and laughed.

Prosecutor Juris Jurass took a folder with approximately 120 pages. He started reading carefully about every firm: where, how and when Aivars Lembergs requested bribes. He also read registration numbers, the dates and the posts the accused was in when he requested bribes.

Charges were voiced in relation to illegal requests of shares in companies like Multi Nord AG, AS Ventspils parks, AS Kālija parks, Ventspils Commercial Port, as well as acts of bribery. Non-compliance with the latter would have supposedly resulted in «unpleasant consequences» for Ainars Gulbis and others. Charges were also voiced in regards to document forging, threats, etc. A lot of information was reported. A lot.

Whoever was not reading loud was trying to stall for time or spend time staring into their phone, laptop or tablet during the court session. The judge tried listening at first, but then picked pages and started reading.

Lembergs spend the ten-minute break talking with his lawyer outside the courtroom.

Once the meeting was over, all participants returned to their usual poses: Anrijs Lembergs sat back in his chair and began staring into his computer’s screen, judge Geimans was looking very tired, and people in the audience took their phones or tablets to write something down or stall for time. Aivars Lembergs and his lawyer sat down and started listening to the reader.

After nearly an hour-long read came the lunch break. Once the break was over, some people started discussing where and what they ate. Judges returned three minutes after the lunch break. Aivars Lembergs returned five minutes later. Judge Irīna Jansone started complaining when the accused started apologizing for coming late.

The prosecutor continued reading company names registration numbers, quotes from previous court sessions, adding that «documents and testimonies to be analysed together already prove that Aivars Lembergs did have an opportunity to put at risk Ainars Gulbis’ business interests». The prosecutor also mentioned that a copy of a certain document is added to the 122nd volume of the criminal case.

Aivars Lembergs spend hours listening to what he had done or, according to him, he had not. Others were listening as well throughout the court session. And who is to blame for all the volumes and document copies the case now consists of? Why are there so many criminal charges? While the prosecutor was going through all the accusations, the judge was fighting off his fatigue and talking with his fellow judges from time to time.

As the court session went on, one thought was gradually increasing: «Who finds this court session necessary?»

It is likely the lunch break did not give participants the needed dose of energy, because the judge kept closing his eyes for 15 seconds at times throughout the session. But no sleep was possible, because some journalist was present. Kauke whispered to Lembergs: «Clever girls». After a 45-minute-long fight with fatigue, Geimans started stalling for time, switching attention between his phone and papers.

Recounting of accusations continued in the same pace as it did in the previous three hours. Doubts started creeping in that the debates would not even begin at this rate.

At 15:30 Kauke requested a five-minute break. The judge permitted it.

After the break, Aivars Lembergs asked the court to end the session ten minutes early, because he had a meeting of party leaders scheduled later that day. The judge smiled and asked: «Your party, yes?»

Lembergs replied by saying: «Yes, I represent the party I lead, but there will be representatives of other parties. At 15:50, so I would like to leave before then.»

After a short period of deliberation, the court decided to end the session at 15:50. After another 15-minute read and presentation of evidence, a reminder was given to those present that the court session of 13 March would start at 11:00, not 10:00. A sharp reminder was given, declaring the session a closed one. After that, everyone left.

Karel Čapek once wrote: «And yet you will all be happy when the day of the trial begins, you – authors and actors [judges and prosecutors], directors and stage masters [prosecutors and lawyers], hairdressers and dressmakers [journalists and observers]. It’s a long and gloomy day, heavy as a millstone and evil, but you’ll be happy just because it’s so exhausting.» This process continues for the tenth year. It seems Čapek’s words can be used in relation to situations outside the theatre as well.


Leave a reply

BNN summary of the week: pre-election heat, rule of law in Latvia, Baltics prepare for Pope’s visit

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Elections; Change; Stagnation; Fight; Visit; Investigation.

Court reschedules viewing of criminal case due to Non-citizens Congress leader’s poor health

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court announced today that the viewing of the criminal case in which leader of Non-citizens Congress Aleksandrs Gapoņenko is accused of inciting national hate will be postponed to a later date.

Producer prices in industry up 1.0% in Latvia in August

Compared to July, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 1.0 % in August 2018. Level of prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 1.9 %, but of exported products – went up by 0.1 %.

Bishop: priest suspected of sexual abuse to be operated on in hospital

Pāvels Zeiļa, who is a priest of Rezekne Aglona diocese and the suspect in the criminal case regarding sexual violence and human trafficking, will undergo a complicated surgery on Friday, 21 September, as reported by Bishop Jānis Bulis.

Study: residents withdraw money from ATMs less often but in larger amounts

Every now and then discussions about dropping cash money altogether become active in society, AS PrivatBank representatives say.

HND Grupa design company, involved in Zolitude tragery, declared insolvent

Building engineer Ivars Sergets company HND Grupa, which was involved in the case revolving around the Maxima supermarket that collapsed in Zolitude, killing 54, not five years ago, has been declared insolvent, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Deputy Chief of State Fire and Rescue Service suspected of misappropriation

Latvia’s Interior Affairs Ministry’s Internal Security Bureau has detained deputy chief of State Fire and Rescue Service Ints Sēlis and one other official – a senior inspector, as reported by Panorāma programme of LTV.

Washington sanctions China for buying Russian military equipment

U.S. government has introduces sanctions against the Chinese army over a purchase of fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, despite a U.S. sanctions law targeting Moscow for attempts to sway in the 2016 U.S. election.

Autumn expected to begin soon in Latvia

Friday, 21 September, is expected to be warm in Latvia. Sun and considerable amount of clouds are expected, but not precipitation. Wind will draw in from the south, reaching a speed of 15-17 m/sec in western and central regions, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Brexit: a finish line with no end in sight

Less than 200 days are left before Britain officially leaves the European Union. The state of the agreement between Britain and EU only serves to create more chaos, from which neither Britain nor EU, or even Latvia will benefit.

EU underlines to London: No-deal Brexit also option

European Union's top officials and member state leaders planned to push for a Brexit deal in October, while urging London to give ground on the issues trade and the Irish border by November, to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Lithuanian PM, a presumable presidential hopeful, set to curb grocery price growth

Having chastised food retailers on many occasions for high grocery prices, Saulius Skvernelis, the Lithuanian Prime Minister, stepped forward in the bid to harness local supermarkets. The presumed presidential candidate of the ruling Farmers and Greens (LVŽS) has summoned this week executives of major retail food chains, scolded them and reaffirmed his pledge to rein in the edging up prices.

Industrial prices in Estonia – up by 3.4% on year

The industrial price index in Estonia has risen from August 2017 to August this year by 3.4%, official statistics show.

Latvian parliament approves transition to competence-based approach in education content

On Thursday, 20 September, Latvia’s Saeima approved in the final reading amendments to the Education Law, necessary for the gradual introduction of competence-based approach in education materials.

Latvian Saeima wants to disallow shareholders to work in company management board

On Thursday, 20 September, Saeima approved in the first reading amendments to the Credit Institutions Law that provide for multiple measures to enhance Latvia’s finance system and its long-term stability, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Aglone Council prohibits residents from organizing protests during Pope Francis’ visit

A protest against the Catholic Church’s ban on abortions and expression of shock in relation to the recent sex scandals involving Catholic priests was planned to take place in Aglone during Pope Francis’ visit, but the city council decided to disallow them.

Latvian parliament conceptual supports pension bonus indexation

On Thursday, 20 September, Saeima supported in the first reading several initiatives for a more rapid pension climb for several groups of pensioners, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Majority Saeima deputies support open president vote; UGF members fail to decide unanimously

On Thursday, 20 September, amendments to the Constitution regarding open election of the state president were approved in the second reading.

Four Estonian parties have strong support, enough to enter Riigikogu

Four Estonian parties are believed to currently have enough support to enter the Estonian parliament, a broad opinion poll showed, as leading parties compete for voter backing.

Vitol Group concerned over state of rule of law in Latvia; turns to state officials

One of the largest energy resource traders in the world – Vitol Group – has sent a letter to Latvia’s highest ranking officials, expressing deep concern over the rule of law and application of legislative acts in the litigation between LatRosTrans and Polocktransneft Druzba over the EUR 66 million worth technological oil.

As Pope heads to Baltics, more attention to Catholic sex abuse

The time, when Roman Catholic Pope Francis is set to visit the Baltics, greatly differs from the visit by Saint John Paul II in 1993. There is public resentment over the countries spending several million euros to host the trip of the pontiff and the Catholic sex abuse scandals are topic of discussion.

Officials asked to take responsibility for misuse of state resources

If misuse of state resources takes place, officials have to take responsibility and pay for the damages caused to the state, says Public Expenditure and Audit Committee chairman Andris Bērziņš.

May asks EU not to divide Britain, while Brussels waits for UK change of position

At a European Union summit in Austria, UK's Prime Minister Theresa May called on EU leaders leave behind "unacceptable" Brexit demands that according to her may rip Britain apart.

Saeima decides to divide EUR 8.3 million of healthcare budget funds to finance reforms

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has supported the initiative to divide EUR 8.277 million from the planned chronic patient care funding to further finance reforms in the country’s healthcare system.

20 complaints received in first 10 days of data protection regulation

In the first 100 days since adoption of European General Data Protection Regulation, Latvia’s Data State Inspectorate has received 20 data protection violation reports, said the centre’s director Daiga Avdejanova during a meeting of Saeima’s European Affairs Committee.

Newest comments