BY JANA DUBOVCOVÁ

To believe or not believe the evidence?

Lawyer Mária Mešencová was asked to take a bribe to convince her client not to testify against another lawyer's client. Mešencová became a police agent to help to expose this corruption, and the Bar Association, claiming lawyers cannot be agents because it would violate the bond of trust with their clients, expelled her.

Lawyer Mária Mešencová was asked to take a bribe to convince her client not to testify against another lawyer's client. Mešencová became a police agent to help to expose this corruption, and the Bar Association, claiming lawyers cannot be agents because it would violate the bond of trust with their clients, expelled her. Meanwhile, the bar did not expel the lawyer who offered the bribe in the first place. The Supreme Court overturned Mešencová's expulsion, but upheld the "higher principle" that lawyers cannot be police agents.

I ask the bar association, as a judge, how it regards the fact that the bribe was offered in order to ensure that perjury was committed. If the court had ruled on the basis of this evidence, justice would have been perverted.

I don't know what is more dangerous in this case, whether it is the corruption among lawyers, the possibility that perjury would have been committed, or the fact that the bar has not yet taken a standpoint on the essence of this case. The bar was more concerned that a lawyer had become an agent than that she had been offered a bribe to thwart justice.

The public may have come away with the impression that there is nothing wrong with a lawyer convincing his or her client to perjure themselves, as long as no bribe is offered. The matter of the bribe was solved in court, while the fact that Mešencová became an agent led to her expulsion, but somehow the perjury issue was never addressed.

I respect attorney Mešencová, despite what the bar has to say on the matter, for her courage in exposing corruption and in not agreeing to give her client bad counsel. She is in the best traditions of the legal profession, for she has a conscience.


Sme, February 22

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