THE ARTICLES about the informal meeting of judges and lawyers in the Bonanno bar in 2010 should serve to support the attacks on the judiciary, former Deputy Prosecutor General Ladislav Tichý said in front of the court January 22, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Tichy testified as part of a lawsuit by Supreme Court Judge Juraj Seman against the Ringier Axel Springer publishing house. The judge is requesting damages of €100,000.

The publishing house faces several lawsuits for the stories its tabloid daily Nový Čas published about judges and lawyers who attended the party at Bonanno, which they dubbed the Judiciary Oscars Association. In their lawsuits, the judges object to Nový Čas’ interpretation of the photographs taken at the party, which appeared to link it to a tragic event that took place two months earlier.

Back in August 2010, Ľubomír Harman, a 48-year-old man wearing blue noise-cancelling ear pieces and armed with an assault rifle, shot and killed seven people before killing himself in Devínska Nová Ves.

The “Judiciary Oscars Association” met two months after the shooting spree in October 2010, and in June 2011 Nový Čas published images from the party of retired judge Tibor Péchy sporting blue ear defenders and carrying an imitation assault rifle, plus video footage of the meeting. The judges and the senior prosecutor refuse the associations made between the images from the meeting at the Bonanno bar and the mass murderer, arguing that there was no mimicking of Harman. They also claim the photographs were modified and falsified.

In his January 22 testimony, Tichý, who also participated in the party, said that at the time when the pictures were published, in June 2011, “hard attacks” have been led against the judiciary and the prosecution, SITA wrote. He said that in the articles, the daily painted the picture of the judiciary as persons who cannot behave themselves and have no standards.

“In my opinion these articles should have served to support these attacks, in that period even the then Justice Minister [Lucia] Žitňanská and then Interior Minister [Daniel] Lipšic had very critical statements about the whole judiciary,” Tichý told the court. He mentioned that the two ministers held a joint press conference after the article was published, where they criticised the state of judiciary. That couldn’t have been incidental, and it was directed against the judiciary.

The daily is currently facing eight lawsuits related to the case. Seman, Tichý, Supreme Court judges Štefan Michálik, Daniel Hudák and Milan Lipovský, retired lawyer Tibor Péchy and businessman Štefan Comorek, whose wife owns the Bonanno bar, all filed individual lawsuits. Apart from that, the “Judiciary Oscars Association” filed a lawsuit too, requesting €1 million in damages.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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