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Constitutional judge won't resign

CONSTITUTIONAL judge Juraj Horváth does not intend to step down from his post, even though his colleagues at the Constitutional Court want him to resign over a past transgression.

They called on him to resign after it came out that 11 years ago, Horváth was handed a six-month suspended sentence for tax evasion, the Sme daily wrote.

"I stand by my original position," Horváth said after meeting President Ivan Gašparovič on November 5.

The visit was labelled as private, so no details from the meeting were revealed.

In the past, Gašparovič taught Horváth in law school. They also have a common hobby - hunting, the daily wrote.

Horváth argues that there is no law that says he must resign. He said when he ran for the Constitutional Court post in 2002, the sentence had already been deleted from his records.

The president of the Constitutional Court, Ivetta Macejková, and Gašparovič both said that the current law does not deal with situations like this. The constitution says the president can fire a constitutional judge for an intentional criminal offence.

The law has lower standards for constitutional judges than judges of regional and district courts, who are required to have clean criminal records. Gašparovič said the law should be revised.

If Horváth does not resign on his own, it is impossible to sack him, Sme wrote. His term at the Constitutional Court ends in 2014.

The Regional Court in Bratislava sentenced Horváth for tax evasion worth about Sk270,000 (€8,000) in 1996. The breach happened when the Autokomm company, which he directed and co-owned, imported eight cars. Horváth kept one of them, but he did not report the tax duty.

Horváth defended himself in the case, claiming it was only negligence. The court sentenced him to a six-month imprisonment, suspended for one year. It was deleted from his criminal record after three years.

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