PRIME Minister Robert Fico does not have to apologise to former prime minister Iveta Radičová in her libel lawsuit, the court ruled. The subpoena summoning him to the trial was not delivered correctly, and thus the verdict is not valid.

Radičová sued Smer chairman Fico in September 2011 for libel during her term as prime minister. Fico called her a liar and accused her of being involved in an alleged case of corruption linked to the construction of a biathlon stadium in Osrblie.

The District Court in Pezinok issued a ruling on May 9, 2013, in which it ordered Fico to publish an apology for his statements in the TASR and SITA newswires at his own expense. According to the judge, even though at that time Radičová was serving as a public official, the statement violated her personal honour, the SITA newswire wrote. However, Fico appealed the verdict, the TASR newswire reported on August 17, 2013.

In more recent developments, a judge of the Pezinok District Court, Michaela Králová, failed to deliver to Fico the subpoena for the trial, after having tried for 18 months to send it to him at his former residence and the Government Office with no success, the Sme daily wrote on July 9.

Fico did not show up at the trial and lost the case. The court ordered him to apologise to Radičová, but the Bratislava Regional Court cancelled the verdict a few weeks ago, based on the fact that the PM never received the subpoena. The person from the Government Office who accepted the subpoena was allegedly not authorised to do so.

“This sets an example for those who want to avoid a court proceeding, and it is unfortunate that the prime minister gives it to citizens,” Sme quoted Radičová’s lawyer Tomáš Kamenec as saying.

Thus, the verdict is not effective and the Pezinok District Court will have to decide again in the case - after it successfully delivers the subpoena to Fico.

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