Man flees courthouse through toilet window
Stanislav H., a 37-year old suspect charged with robbery, escaped a court sentence on November 4 by climbing through the window of a toilet in the Regional Courthouse in Banská Bystrica (population, 84,000). The suspect, charged with robbery and unorderly conduct, faced a prison term of 5 to 12 years.
However he was released from prison on his own recognizance and was awaiting the date of the sentencing at home. On November 4, before the court was supposed to issue a verdict, the suspect asked for permission to go to the toilet. After the suspect had been inside for more than five minutes, the guard opened the door and found the toilet empty.
According to the police, Stanislav H. probably escaped through the window to the street. The court tried him in his absence the same day and ruled that he be imprisoned. If he is caught, his escape will bring him only a fine, since he absconded from a trial and not from prison - escaped convicts are subject to a five year jail term.
Truck drivers protest sluggishness
On November 5, 150 truckdrivers at this border crossing between Slovakia and Poland lined up their vehicles, forming a five kilometer chain in a protest against customs officers' sluggishness and bad service at the border.
During the blockade, which lasted for one day, the drivers requested better social facilities and faster service. They circulated a petition, in which they stated that it should take not more than six minutes for one truck to be checked. Currently it takes about 30 to 40 hours of waiting to get through this border crossing. "The situation with the social facilities is horrible," said a truck driver from Topoľčany who wished to remain anonymous. "Look at the fields around the border, they are covered with [toilet] paper." But both Slovak and Polish border patrols rejected the drivers' requests.
"Currently we check 350 trucks a day, and they are asking for 480 trucks per day," said Tomáš Tkáč, the director of the Customs Office in Trstená. "Over the past four years, nobody has complained about the speed of the checks. Now they are. But they have to realize that the number of trucks coming through here has increased by 520 percent in the last three years."
20. Nov 1997 at 0:00