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Judge punished for sending a letter

STANISLAV Sojka, a judge at the Michalovce District Court, has now learned that writting letters to the head of state can be a perilous undertaking.

The Supreme Court building.(Source: SITA)

STANISLAV Sojka, a judge at the Michalovce District Court, has now learned that writting letters to the head of state can be a perilous undertaking.

Sojka was found guilty of a serious disciplinary offence by the disciplinary senate of the Supreme Court on October 21.

The court ruled that a letter which Sojka sent to Slovakia’s president, Ivan Gašparovič, constituted a serious violation of judicial ethics.

Sojka was suspended from hearing cases in June 2008 for what his superiors called providing third parties with information about a case he was judging.

Sojka described the circumstances around his suspension in his letter to the president.

The disciplinary senate said that Sojka’s letter was filled with “semi-truths and invectives” against his boss, Jozef Soročina, attorney Juraj Kus and former justice minister Štefan Harabin, the Sme daily reported.

The Slovak media has not learned the exact reasons why Sojka is now being punished, but his salary is to be cut by 50 percent for the next six months.

Sojka was shocked by the verdict and said that "every citizen of the state has a right to write to the president."

President Gašparovič responded through his spokesman, Marek Trubač, that “the fact itself that Sojka wrote a letter to the president is not a justified reason for disciplinary proceedings”, according to Sme.

It was originally alleged that Sojka informed prosecutors, judges and even opposition deputy Daniel Lipšic about an appeal that Kus had filed following a ruling by Sojka which went against one of Kus’s client. Sojka denies the claims.

Kus had filed an earlier disciplinary complaint against Sojka but the Judicial Council did not approve it.

A month later, Soročina filed a complaint against Sojka.

“I am here because I am in someone’s way, because I am not willing to bow to power and in my decision-making I was impossible to influence,” Sojka said, as quoted by Sme.

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