SUPREME Court judge Štefan Michálik, who is also head of the Supreme Court penal senate, has been named in a case in which prosecutor Michal Barila and lawyer Ladislav Sčury have each been charged with corruption, the Týždeň weekly reported on March 18. According to the weekly, the prosecutor is alleged to have taken a bribe in return for settling matters with the judge to get a man who had been charged with fraud released from jail.
“The investigator has accused four persons of the crime of bribery and one person of accepting a bribe,” police spokesperson Andrea Dobiášová told the Sme daily.
The three remaining people accused in the case are the man allegedly released from prison following payment of the bribe and two other businessmen who allegedly helped to deliver it.
The crime is alleged to have taken place after a Regional Court refused to release the accused man from prison.
At this point, it is alleged, one of the businessmen passed an envelope with €30,000 to the lawyer, who allegedly went to the prosecutor with another businessman and gave him the envelope. The Supreme Court later ruled that the accused man be released from prison, the Sme daily wrote.
If proved guilty, those accused of bribery face two to five years in prison. Accepting a bribe can be punished with three to eight years behind bars.
The judge can only be charged with a crime if the Constitutional Court strips him of his immunity. Judge Michálik later said he was willing to cooperate with investigators and maintains he has never taken a bribe, nor been offered one.
“I would automatically have reported such conduct,” he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
Michálik also said he was convinced his case is the same as some that he said had occurred at the Supreme Court before, when criminals falsely accused Supreme Court judges of taking bribes and whose accusations were later proved false.
“These accusations after proper investigation turned out to be a clear lie, but damage to a good name is hard to restore,” Judge Michálik said, as quoted by SITA.
Michálik was one of the Supreme Court judges who in 2006 reconfirmed several communist-era convictions in the Cervanová case, one of the most controversial decision in Slovak judicial history.
28. Mar 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff