DANIEL Lipšic, leader of the New Majority-Agreement (NOVA) political movement, will have to pay €10,000 to judge Juraj Sopoliga as compensation for statements concerning anti-discrimination lawsuits of judges, the district court in Košice ruled on October 24. Lipšic considers the verdict “utterly absurd” and says he will appeal it, the TASR newswire reported.
Sopoliga, a judge of the Košice Regional Court, sued Lipšic for his statements from 2010 in which he called the lawsuits illegal and immoral, when complaining about the higher salaries of judges working at the now-defunct Special Court, and described the judges who had submitted them greedy. Lipšic had also said that Sopoliga organised the filing of the lawsuits, according to TASR.
Before the court, Sopoliga said that Lipšic had been misleading the public and had discredited his professionalism and morality. He confessed that he had advised his colleagues at the court on how to submit the lawsuit, but denied the claim that he had been organising the lawsuits in cooperation with current Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin and former justice minister Viera Petríková, TASR wrote.
The whole dispute pertains to wage discrimination lawsuits filed by hundreds of judges, most of whom were following a Constitutional Court ruling in May 2009 which found that the Special Court set up to fight high-level corruption and organised crime, had not been established in accordance with the country’s constitution. Part of the ruling was based on the grounds that the position of judges in different courts was unequal, including in terms of pay. Special Court judges typically received considerably higher pay than regular judges.
The lawsuit has dragged on for years due to numerous complaints. One objection was raised over the fact that Sopoliga has served as a long-time court official at the Košice Regional Court, which, according to Lipšic, casts significant doubt over the unbiased approach of the court, TASR wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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28. Oct 2013 at 14:00