Bar Association sacks attorney who worked with police

THE SLOVAK Bar Association (SAK) has banished attorney Mária M. for cooperating with the police in a corruption sting aimed at her colleague, a decision that Slovak Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská called "absurd and scandalous".

SAK Chairman Štefan Detvai agreed that the lawyer had had moral duty to report the corrupt practices to the police, but said she should not have cooperated with the police as an agent provocateur.

"As an agent the police directed her actions, which contravenes the law on attorneys. Independence is the basic principle of this profession," Detvai said.

According to the SAK, through her actions Mária M. also put her clients at risk, because investigators bugged her telephone.

"Although the Bar Association has always fought against corruption in its ranks, one act of illegal behaviour cannot excuse another illegal act," Detvai said.

Mária M. helped to convict her colleague at a Special Court hearing in April this year. She testified that attorney Pavel P. attempted to bribe her to persuade her client to change his testimony in favour of Pavel P.'s client.

Pavel P.'s bribery attempt was recorded in cooperation with the police.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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