The reporter of the Nový Čas tabloid daily explained to the court how she received the photos and videos of a private meeting of lawyers and judges in the Bonanno bar in Rajecké Teplice, which took place in autumn 2010. The men have sued the publisher of the newspaper, Ringier Axel Springer, for publishing the stories, and seek a total of €940,000 in damages.
Reporter Júlia Mikolášiková said that she received the material on a USB port delivered to the publisher. Since she recognised some of the people depicted in the images, she contacted the head of the newspaper’s politics section, who confirmed their identities. A theme was later proposed for the story at a meeting and then prepared for the newspaper.
Mikolášiková addressed the judges and a senior prosecutor in court, some of whom responded, the SITA newswire reported on September 20.
The reporter said that none of the meeting’s attendees asked that the story be corrected. She added that when she was checking whether the meeting actually took place, some of them confirmed it, and one even said that it was an opening session of what they referred to as the Judiciary Oscars Association, SITA wrote.
In the lawsuit, several judges and a senior prosecutor who attended a party at Bonanno, which they dubbed the Judiciary Oscars Association, object to Nový Čas’ interpretation of the photographs taken at the party, which appeared to link it to a tragic event that took place two months earlier.
Back in late August 2010, Ľubomír Harman, a 48-year-old man wearing blue ear defenders and armed with an assault rifle, shot dead seven people before killing himself in Devínska Nová Ves.
The Judiciary Oscars Association met two months after the shooting spree in October 2010, and in June 2011 Nový Čas published images from the party of retired judge Tibor Péchy sporting blue ear defenders and carrying an imitation assault rifle, plus video footage of the meeting. In a case filed this year, the judges and senior prosecutor are objecting to associations between the images from the Bonanno bar and the mass murderer, arguing that there was no mimicking of Harman. They also claim the photographs were modified and falsified.
The Bratislava II District Court was dealing with the suit filed by Supreme Court Judge Milan Lipovský, who was not present at the hearing. Every reminder of this media attack is stressful for him, explained Lipovský’s laywer Štefan Detvai, as reported by SITA.
Mikolášiková also said that Lipovský could ask for a correction under the Press Code. She added that the lawsuits came after hearing about reporters from Nový Čas who were working on the articles, SITA wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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20. Sep 2013 at 14:00