bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 20.01.2020 | Name days: Aļģirds, Orests, Oļģerts, Alģis
LatviaLatvia

Are law amendments in the works because of slow pace of Lembergs case?

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Aivars Lembergs

Latvia’s Saeima has commenced work on amendments to the law to prevent time from being wasted with court debates and the accused person’s last word. Supporters of the initiative deny that amendments are specifically tailored for the so-called Lembergs’ case, but amendments may be used for it nonetheless, as reported by public broadcaster LTV programme De Facto.

The criminal case in which the suspended Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs is accused of committing serious crimes has been under review in court since February 2009 – more than ten years. So far 627 court hearings have taken place; for reasons yet unknown the 621 meetings have not taken place. Reasons for this include sickness of the accused, their defenders and judges, the programme compiles. «136 court sessions are planned for 2020.»

«It is not possible to voice any predictions when the court could announce a verdict in this case,» the LTV was told by Riga Regional Court’s Judge Irīna Jansone.

She explains that debates have to conclude first. Then the accused will be allowed to voice their last word, which is not limited by the law.

The programme notes that regional court Judge Juris Stukāns has submitted to the Saeima a proposal to terminate the length of debates and last word. He allowed that courts could adopt a specific time limit for debates and last word. The judge denies, however, that the proposal came to be as a result of exhaustion from the lengthy Lembergs’ case.

«The case is nearing its end – no one can change anything. The prosecutors have spoken, the two lawyers have spoken. There is only one lawyer and the last word left. This means there is nothing that can affect the process at this point,» said Stukāns.

De Facto, on the other hand, says Lembergs’ case is far from over. Only Lembergs’ lawyer is left in court debates, and there are approximately 300 episodes for Lembergs alone in the criminal case. Prosecutors spent approximately 80 sessions last year reading their speech.

Lembergs’ state-provided lawyer Genādijs Ivankins will commence his debate speech in the middle of January. He does not plan to make is last a month, De Facto explains. When asked if he has coordinated the length of his speech with his client, Ivankins said that «he [Lembergs] lives in another city. We have very little communication. I will go as far as to say – we have no communication».

Amendments to the Law on Criminal Procedure, which aim to apply a time limit for both debates and last word, have passed the first out of three readings in the Saeima.

Juta Strīķe told De Facto that amendments are not associated with any single criminal case, but they are «associated with all important litigations in which this instrument [debates] is abused».

Certain opposition deputies protested against amendments during a meeting of the committee reviewing them. One of them is a member of Lembergs’ political party – Gundars Daudze from the Union of Greens and Farmers. He believes this regulation would by anti-democratic, De Facto notes.

To avoid speculations that amendments are intended for a specific criminal case, chairman of the Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates Jānis Rozenbergs, who defends Ansis Sormulis in court, has proposed making so that amendments to not apply to criminal cases already in court. However, no such rule is planned, De Facto reports.

«I conceptually object to amendments developed to resolve a single specific problem instead of addressing systematic problems. I have not seen a single study or collection of opinions as to how many of the 8 000 cases the office of the prosecutor sends to court every year and in how many cases it is difficult to meet deadlines and avoid lengthy debates,» says Rozenbergs.

Aside from Lembergs’ case there are not many, if any, similar examples, the programme reports.

One such case is the digital television litigation. Debates of this case have continued for longer than a year, De Facto explains.

«DTV case’s debates took a long time, but this was necessary to cover such a large volume of information and meet deadlines,» says the case’s presiding prosecutor Monvīds Zelčs. According to him, it would not be right to limit debates, because there are no clear criteria of how time is measured.

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

The judge in the DTV case was the author of the aforementioned amendments Stukāns. He explains that the verdict must be backed by evidence, not statements made in debates. This is why there is no reason to listen to debates for years.

«Currently the law states the opposite – that length of debates is not limited. This means a person can spend a long time speaking on any topic and say nothing in the process,» says Stukāns.


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania: police on hunt of a child’s kidnapper, 2020 conscription list announced, Belarus seeks Lithuania’s help

In Lithuania, the top news stories last week were the police hunt of a child’s kidnapper, the announcement of the 2020 conscription list and Belarus seeking Lithuania’s help court.

BNN summary of the week: Lay-offs at LDz. KNAB wrapped around ZZS’ finger. Ķuzis steps down

The last week demonstrated that not everything that glitters is gold. Although previously Latvian Railway proudly reported growing freights and revenue, the statement released in the middle of the week suggests the company is not in the best state – the company plans to lay off 1 500 workers by the end of the year.

FKTK lists exceptions in which banks are allowed to service Aivars Lembergs

Latvian Finance and Capital Market Commission has listed cases in which Latvia’s finance market participants will be allowed to service Aivars Lembergs, who is subjected to US OFAC sanctions and accused of serious crimes, and three organizations associated with him – Ventspils Development Agency, Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Business Association.

Appropriate jobs promised for laid-off LDz workers

Latvian State Employment Agency promises to find appropriate jobs for laid-off Latvian Railway workers. If need be, those people will be provided the opportunity for re-qualification, raise their qualification or train for a new profession, as confirmed by the agency’s representative Signe Bierande.

Bordāns selects potential candidates to lead the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General’s office

I can see people who could take the reins over the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court and change their work standards, Latvian Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns told TV3 programme 900 seconds when asked about any potential candidates to lead those institutions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister ready quit after leaked voice recording

Ukrainian head of government Oleksiy Honcharuk has offered to resign following the circulation of an audio recording, where criticism of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his knowledge in economy is voiced.

Inflation in Latvia reportedly higher than Europe’s and Eurozone’s in December

In December 2019 inflation in Latvia was higher than the average in the European Union and Eurozone, according to information published by Eurostat on Friday, 17 January.

Estonian population growth continues in 2019 due to immigration

Estonia has registered in 2019 population growth for the fifth consecutive year and it can be explained with immigration not with natural growth, according to preliminary data released by Statistics Estonia.

BNN investigation | Raunas street property: quiet assistant with a «secret wallet» for Lembergs

There are suspicions that Aivars Lembergs, subjected to international sanctions, has sold real estate located on Raunas Street 27 in Riga to his sister «on paper only». This may have been done to avoid confiscation of properties in the event of a guilty verdict or a possible arrest over the real estate property. However, it is possible Lembergs maintains full control over this real estate property and, most likely, the property is used to fatten his wallet on a regular basis.

Audit: majority of Latvian housing stock has degraded to a state of a slum

Since the denationalization effective access to housing security in Latvia does not exist and most of the housing stock has degraded up to a state of a slum, as concluded by the Latvian State Audit.

Prime minister affirms possibility of carrying oil supplies for Belarus through Latvia

During his meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday, 16 January, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš affirmed that oil supplies for Belarus may be possible using Latvia’s ports.

Rain in Australia provides relief to continuing fight against bushfires

In eastern Australia, which has been suffering in prolonged and disastrous bushfires, heavy rain has been falling for the past 24 hours.

Weather to remain warm in Latvia at week’s end

At the end of the week the sky in Latvia will become clear and the sun will shine. No precipitation is expected. However, a low atmospheric pressure area will approach the country from the west during weekends, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

GKR helps overthrow Riga’s vice-mayors and put an end to ruling coalition

Riga City Council vice-chairperson Anna Vladova and deputy Druvis Kleins lost their respective posts at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, 16 January. This happened because multiple deputies from Honour to Serve Riga voted together with the opposition in favour of dismissing them.

Latvian Railway plans to lay off 1 500 employees

Latvian Railway plans to terminate labour relations with approximately 1 500 employees before the end of 2020, as reported by the company’s representative Ella Pētermane.

Russian State Duma approves Putin’s new Prime Minister

The Russian State Duma has approved on Thursday, January 16, the candidacy of the country’s next Prime Minister appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ventspils opposition invites Pūce to act to prevent US sanctions from spreading to city council

Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry and especially Juris Pūce have to act to resolve the current state of Ventsils City Council. It should be dismissed, as the municipal government does not have moral, ethical or legal foundation to continue managing and implementing the criminal management’s policy, according to Ventspils City Council opposition deputies.

Trade unions urge Latvian government to resolve transit businesses’ blocked bank accounts problem

Multiple trade unions associated with the transit industry have turned to Latvia’s highest ranking officials with a request to resolve the situation with bank accounts of multiple transit companies having been blocked because of US sanctions against Aivars Lembergs. If the government does not act, trade unions promise to organize massive protests.

Anris Leimanis picked as RB Rail council chairman

Anris Leimanis, independent council member from Latvian shareholder, has been picked as Rail Baltica joint Baltic company AS RB Rail council chairman. Ahti Kuningas and Karolis Sankovskis will serve as vice-chairmen, as confirmed by the company.

CSP: number of residents at risk of poverty declines in Latvia

In 2018 a total of 434 thousand persons or 22.9 % of the population of Latvia were at risk of poverty – 0.4 percentage points less than in 2017.

Latvian Saeima to ask Denmark to not extradite Kristīne Misāne to South African Republic

On Thursday, 16 January, Latvian Saeima made the decision to protect the rights of Latvian citizen Kristīnes Misāne, asking the Danish parliament and Danish law enforcers to support their Latvian colleagues and find a solution to avoid extraditing her to the South African Republic, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Smiltēns: Riga City Council’s situation can be described – divide, redistribute and plunder

«The situation in at Riga City Council can be described with three words – divide, redistribute, plunder,» said leader of Latvian Association of Regions Edvards Smiltēns in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on Thursday, 16 January.

One single vote left the Lithuanian election system intact

The understanding that Lithuania’s election system needs changes is nearly overwhelming, but the ruling Farmers and Greens’ attempt to lower the Parliament election threshold in parties’ multi-member constituency from current 5 per cent to 3 per cent suffered a setback this week.

Estonian power grid executive detained over bribery suspicion

The Estonian Internal Security Service has detained a board member of the Elektrilevi power grid operator over suspicion of taking a bribe.

Demographer: Latvia has the lowest birth rate level observed the past decade

Birth rates continued to decline in Latvia in 2019. The lowest level of the past decade was reached in the country last year, says demographer Ilmārs Mežs.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!