Robert Okoličány, who is alleged in a lawsuit filed by the Special Prosecutor’s Office to be a Košice gangland boss, was released from custody on Wednesday, April 7, based on a decision by the Specialised Criminal Court.
The case for keeping him in jail lapsed when the Košice Regional Court turned down an appeal by the prosecutor's office against the verdict of the Košice II District Court, which dropped charges of hooliganism against Okoličány in November 2009, the SITA newswire wrote. The district court's acquittal of the defendant, based on which the alleged gangland boss has been in custody since October 2008, thus took effect.
According to the acquittal, it was not proven that Robert Okoličány attacked the occupant of a discotheque in Košice in August 2008. The prosecutor said that the assault took place at a time when Okoličány was at large due to a decision by the Constitutional Court in April 2008, which had ruled that his rights had been violated because he had spent a certain amount of time in custody without a court's decision.
This February, the Supreme Court cancelled Okoličány’s life sentence and sentences for several of his alleged accomplices and ordered a new trial based on their appeal. The Specialised Criminal Court handed down the sentences in February 2009 when it found them guilty of 19 serious crimes, including founding a crime group, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and blackmail. The Specialised Criminal Court must now deal with the case again.
The Justice Ministry reacted to the release of the alleged gangster with a statement in which it blamed judges for a failure to complete the case. "They have to take disciplinary and moral responsibility before citizens," the Justice Ministry stated, as quoted by SITA.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. Apr 2010 at 14:00