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Strange dealings on judge panel for Harabin case

THE COURT which ordered compensation paid to Supreme Court Chairman Štefan Harabin was the scene of several unusual developments during the adjudicating process, the Sme daily reported on November 8.

THE COURT which ordered compensation paid to Supreme Court Chairman Štefan Harabin was the scene of several unusual developments during the adjudicating process, the Sme daily reported on November 8.

First, the case was taken away from the panel of judges which had abolished a compensation verdict in the past. Officially, the original panel was overwhelmed with work and could take on no more cases. Harabin was then, based on the order of chairman of the due court, the Bratislava Regional Court Ľuboš Sadovský, who allotted an exception, assigned to another panel, the Sme daily reported.

Harabin said he knew nothing about the changes, according to Sme.

Harabin yet again dismissed all claims of his ever having been on close terms with Kosovar Albanian and alleged drug trafficker Baki Sadiki. Harabin's comments come in the wake of a recent ruling by Bratislava Regional Court whereby the Prosecutor-General's Office is obliged to pay Harabin €125,000 in compensation for illegitimately confirming the authenticity of a transcript of Harabin's alleged telephone conversation with Sadiki, the TASR newswire reported.

Speaking at a press conference, Harabin went on to dismiss the genuineness of the transcript, which indicates that the two were on friendly terms. According to Harabin, it was Independent MP Daniel Lipšic who came up with the transcript in revenge for Harabin's pointing to what he viewed as Lipšic's wasting of public funds while justice minister (2002-06). Lipšic headed the ministry [with a gap of some months in early 2006 when Lucia Žitňanská took over] before Harabin, who then kept the post until he was elected Supreme Court Chairman in 2009, according to TASR.

Harabin pledged that all money that he's won in court over the Sadiki issue will be re-directed towards hospital wards treating cancer-stricken children. At the same time, he heralded further lawsuits over the issue to follow.

“I'll be happy with apologies in all instances, but not when it comes to the Sme daily,” he said as quoted by TASR. “I don't care about the money, but I'll still ask for it, because if I didn't do so, the media would all continue lying all the time about me, knowing that they're safe from harm."

He summarised that he's won over Sk5 million (over €165,000) in lawsuits against the media so far, but stressed that this didn't involve public funds as the money has all been paid by publishing houses.

Source: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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