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Justice Minister files two more complaints against judges

JUSTICE Minister Lucia Žitňanská filed two proposals on June 28 to begin disciplinary action against two judges of the Bratislava I District Court. One of the motions requests opening a disciplinary procedure against a judge whose mistakes the minister claims led to the release from pre-trial custody of alleged underworld boss Karol Mello, who was charged with ordering a botched murder plot which claimed the lives of an innocent woman and a child instead of the targeted person.

JUSTICE Minister Lucia Žitňanská filed two proposals on June 28 to begin disciplinary action against two judges of the Bratislava I District Court. One of the motions requests opening a disciplinary procedure against a judge whose mistakes the minister claims led to the release from pre-trial custody of alleged underworld boss Karol Mello, who was charged with ordering a botched murder plot which claimed the lives of an innocent woman and a child instead of the targeted person.

The other case involves the release of a three suspects charged with producing narcotic and psychotropic substances, their possession and trading in them.

“In both cases mistakes came to light which have threatened the trust of the public in independent, unbiased and just decision-making by courts, which not only caused irritation among the public but also throws bad light on the work of all involved in the Slovak judiciary,” Žitňanská said as quoted by the SITA newswire. “In order to restore trust in courts and judges, I consider it important that those responsible are taken to account for concrete errors and therefore I decided, based on thorough consideration, to file both proposals.”

If the judge from the case of Karol Mello is found guilty, the minister proposed to punish him with a 70-percent reduction of salary for one year and possibly also suspension from the bench. After she went though the files, the minister found sufficient proof that the judge did not act in line with the law in the preparatory phase. After the closure of the preparatory procedure and filing charges, the judge ordered Mello to be held in custody even though he was not the statutory judge in the case and for this procedural flaw the suspect was subsequently released. Another disciplinary procedure has been in process against this judge in a similar case, SITA wrote.

Regarding the release of the drug dealers, the minister proposed that the disciplinary senate halve the judge’s salary for a year. The judge is suspected of delaying the decision on custody so that it was impossible to submit the case to the higher court after the charged persons filed an appeal of the decision to take them into custody.

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