Before leaving the office on June 15, former president Ivan Gašparovič managed to reduce the jail sentence of young ice-hockey player František Koleno who for attacking a female police officer was sentenced to eight years in prison last year.

Koleno was scheduled to be released on November 19, 2021. Following Gašparovič’s decision, he’ll be free on November 19, 2015, the TASR newswire wrote, citing unnamed judicial sources.

Koleno, now 21, who was involved in a brawl at a pub during a Boxing Day party in Považská Bystrica in 2011, kicked a female police officer who was attempting to manacle him. She suffered a serious kneecap injury involving ligament damage that required surgery, and it resulted in her being out of service for a year. Moreover, in the past she had an embolism, so any further surgery represents a risk. She still hasn’t recovered completely – she has problems walking and isn’t able to run at all. Koleno at first received a sentence of 11 years and 7 months in prison, which was shortened by the appellate court last November to eight years.

A debate emerged when the appellate court published the verdict, with many pointing that the sentence was surprisingly tough. For example, town policeman from Hurbanovo, Milan Juhasz, who in 2012 in a shooting spree killed three members of a Roma family, received a nine-year sentence, as the court recognised that he was acting in a state of reduced sanity. Another ice-hockey player from Košice Ladislav Ščurko, 28, was at first sentenced to an eight-year imprisonment for the murder of referee Marek Liptaj in 2008, but the appellate court last year reduced the sentence to six years. He appealed against this sentence as well. The 2004 Philadelphia Flyers draftee of late is not in custody and continues playing hockey at a professional level for Bardejov in the second division.

Others familiar with Koleno claimed that he deserved the sentence for his overall arrogant behaviour and “terrorising of others”, however.

“There's probably some sense of justice ... they didn’t destroy a young life,” reacted František Koleno Sr, the young man’s father. “I believe that a petition, the pressure of the public and the media have also helped.” He added that the entire family is grateful to Gašparovič for pardoning František’s “terrible sentence”. “A new, better life will begin for us,” he said, as quoted by TASR. “I believe that it’ll be a lesson for him not to do such a stupid thing again.”

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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