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Moving violation

JUDGE Pavol Polka from the Žilina regional court found his office empty after returning from holiday.

As he entered his office on April 9, Polka found that even his office cupboards were missing. Convinced that his office had been cleaned out by thieves, Polka called the police, alerted his superior, and requested that the Justice Ministry ensure he had the means to continue his work.

But it turned out to be a false alarm. As Jana Urbanová, the deputy chief justice of the court explained, Polka's office had simply been moved to new premises. "Mr Polka knew about the move. He also knew that if he didn't move his office, a special commission would do it for him," Urbanová said.

While all Polka's case files and personal effects have been placed in his new office, Polka has argued that nobody informed him of the move, and that he had found out what happened to his belongings from the court's cleaning lady.

Polka has a rich record of communication with the Justice Ministry. Originally head of the Žilina regional court, Polka was demoted in 1999 by Justice Minister Ján Čarnogurský for refusing to obey the minister's order that all judges submit asset statements.

This March, a court ruled that Polka's right to protection of personal data had been violated by the Justice Ministry decision, and ordered the ministry to pay Polka Sk6 million compensation.

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