SLOVAK actor Dušan Cinkota has made headlines in the Slovak media in connection with an 8-year jail sentence he received for drug-related offences. Cinkota was arrested during a police raid in May 2007 at a flat in the Bratislava borough of Dúbravka shortly after buying 109 doses of methamphetamine. Cinkota claimed in his defence that he bought the drugs based on instructions from a police officer, as he was cooperating with the police, according to the TASR newswire. In response to the regional court upholding the prison sentence, which had been issued by the lower instance court, actor Andrej Hryc initiated a petition calling for a presidential pardon for Cinkota, arguing that the sentence was excessively severe.
However, the Bratislava Regional Court’s ruling from December 5 – which was only released by the court in January based on a freedom of information request from the Sme daily, which then reported the details on January 17 – casts doubt on the version of the story offered by Cinkota.
The actor had previously been given a 13-month sentence for drug-related crimes back in 2003, according to daily Pravda.
According to Cinkota, he was instructed by the police to meet with Martin Havran, who was also sentenced to five years in prison for drug trafficking, and to track so-called “kitchens”, i.e. places where drugs are prepared, the SITA newswire wrote.
Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar rejected Cinkota’s claim, arguing that Cinkota did meet with one police officer but that their discussions had nothing to do with the case. If Cinkota bought the drug as an agent, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák would have to have approved the transfer since police funds would have been used, Gašpar said, as quoted by Sme, adding that the whole process would be backed by “massive documentation”.
During the court hearing, the police officer with whom Cinkota claimed to be cooperating denied Cinkota’s claims that the actor had contacted him before the police operation to inform him of his intention to purchase the drugs, according to Sme.
“He had contacted a police officer but it was not an officially managed cooperation,” Gašpar said, as quoted by Sme. “In no way was a controlled delivery or simulated transaction carried out where he would have acted as an agent.”
Cinkota admitted that he paid for the drugs from his own funds, which he had originally saved for a mortgage, Sme reported.
During the court hearing, the police officer said that Cinkota was an informer but that he had no role other than merely providing information, Sme reported.
“If the accused is trying to shed the guilt by [claiming that] he [the officer] ordered him to buy drugs, then it is not true,” reads the court’s verdict, citing the officer’s testimony.
Cinkota’s lawyer Tomáš Plank refused to comment on Sme reports from the court’s verdict since he “does not have the client’s permission”. Cinkota, in his final speech, expressed disbelief over both the prosecution and the fact that he had had to face the court in the matter.
“I started to doubt that it was a good decision to cooperate with the police,” Cinkota said, as quoted by SITA, adding that now he feels like a “fool”.
A day after the regional court’s decision, Hryc initiated a petition asking Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič to pardon Cinkota. The petition, with 13,806 signatures, was sent to the Justice Ministry, which will prepare a recommendation for the president by the end of January, according to Jana Zlatohlávková, the ministry’s spokesperson, Sme reported.
Hryc does not trust the testimony of the police officer, whom he argues is only protecting himself, and that it comes down to the officer’s word against Cinkota’s.
“My opinion is that even the court should not believe the police officer, ergo it should decide in favour of the accused,” Hryc told The Slovak Spectator, adding that this is the reason why he organised the petition.
President Gašparovič said that neither the petition nor the fact that Cinkota is an actor and has the support of some public figures will affect his decision over the petition for pardon, SITA reported on December 22.
“It would be bad if petitions and [people in] the street” made decisions for the courts, Gašparovič said, as quoted by SITA, adding that he does not think that “the [acting] profession should decide in criminal cases”.
28. Jan 2013 at 0:00 | Roman Cuprik