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Disciplinary court takes action against judge involved in Mello release

A disciplinary court has found judge Stanislav D. of the Bratislava I District Court guilty of a disciplinary misdemeanour due to a procedural mistake that resulted in the release of Karol Mello, a fugitive who is accused of a double murder, the SITA newswire reported.

A disciplinary court has found judge Stanislav D. of the Bratislava I District Court guilty of a disciplinary misdemeanour due to a procedural mistake that resulted in the release of Karol Mello, a fugitive who is accused of a double murder, the SITA newswire reported.

The disciplinary senate concluded that there were some errors made in the arrest of Mello in Poland as well and that Stanislav D. had erred but that this did not have a crucial effect on Mello's release as he would have likely be freed anyway. The Justice Ministry had filed the proposal for a disciplinary proceeding against the judge.

The disciplinary panel also found the judge at fault for incorrect procedural practice in a case involving a taxi driver alleged to have raped a woman after drugging her. The disciplinary court found the judge’s error in this case to be worse than in the Mello case, the Sme daily wrote. The motion in this case was initiated by the former chairwoman of the Bratislava I District Court, Helena Kožíková.

The disciplinary senate punished the judge by halving his salary for six months but the decision is not effective yet and the judge has appealed it.

Mello is accused of a double murder in the village of Most pri Bratislave in 2004. After he hid for over five years, a Polish special task force arrested Mello in a villa near Krakow in October 2010. Mello was released for the first time on May 9 due to procedural flaws in his extradition from Poland as well as in the process of deciding over his custody. He was then immediately detained again.

Mello then filed a complaint about his second detention, resulting in his release from pre-trial custody for a second time on May 19. The Bratislava Regional Court came to the conclusion that the court of the first instance, the Bratislava I District Court, had not fulfilled the legal requirements set by the Penal Code in again taking the accused into custody because he had been released from custody in the same case. In June, Justice Minister Lucia Źitňanská asked the Supreme Court to overturn the verdict of the Bratislava Regional Court that released Mello from pre-trial custody.

Mello has apparently fled Slovakia and is reportedly in hiding in Latin America. A five-judge panel at the Supreme Court rejected the minister’s petition in October.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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