A first-degree guilty verdict is sufficient reason for the continuation of custody of an individual until the definitive verdict of the court is reached, according to an amendment to the criminal procedure code that opposition KDH vice-chairman Daniel Lipšic (and former justice minister) submitted to Parliament on March 2, the TASR newswire wrote.
“It's not acceptable that persons sentenced by the court of first instance for particularly serious crimes – sometimes to life imprisonment – have to be released,” Lipšic told a news conference. Currently, convicted persons who are appealing their cases must be released from custody if the maximum period of custody, which varies according to the nature of the crime, measured against the first-instance guilty verdict elapses during the appeal procedure, reported TASR.
“The accused often commit various obstructions in order to extend the legal proceedings,” said Lipšic. “There are several dangerous persons whose period of custody ends within several weeks.”
He added that he personally didn't care who submitted the amendment. He has sent a letter to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, calling on him to submit the amendment in such a way that it will be a government amendment.
“The first-instance verdict represents an automatic deadline for release from custody, even if the prosecutor submits an appeal,” according to Lipšic.
“It's legal and constitutional,” Lipsic said in reaction to a journalist's question whether such an amendment would contravene the Constitution. Lipsic added that there is a long-term practice of the European Court for Human Rights that the first-instance court decision represents sufficient grounds for the continuation of a person’s custody without restricting its maximum period. Lipšic said that it is the current Slovak law which is of an “above-standard” nature.
A Justice Ministry spokesman, Michal Jurči, said on March 2 that by submitting this amendment Lipšic is probably trying to redress mistakes that were made in re-codification of the Criminal Code in 2005 when Lipsic was Justice Minister. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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