TABLOID newspaper Nový Čas, published by Ringier Axel Springer, faces a new lawsuit by the Judiciary Oscars Association over the publishing of photos from a private meeting of lawyers and judges in the Bonanno bar in Rajecké Teplice in autumn 2010. Several of the association’s members who attended the meeting have already filed individual lawsuits against the publisher for publishing the photos, seeking a total of €940,000 in damages.
“The Judiciary Oscars Association allegedly filed an oral lawsuit over the protection of [their] good reputation and compensation for non-material damage,” Róbert Bános, lawyer of Ringier Axel Springer, told the SITA newswire. He added that he does not know how much money the association is seeking.
In the original lawsuit, several judges and a senior prosecutor who attended the 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. The judges and the senior prosecutor are objecting to associations made between the images from the meeting at the Bonanno bar and the mass murderer, arguing that there was no mimicking of Harman. They also claim the photographs were modified and falsified.
Several witnesses have already given their testimony in the case. Most recently, businessman Štefan Comorek, who took photos at the meeting and even made a DVD of it, was heard in the case concerning the lawsuit filed by Supreme Court judge Štefan Michálik.
Comorek, whose wife owns Bonanno bar, neither confirmed nor denied the origin of the photo in which Péchy is wearing ear defenders and carrying an imitation assault rifle. He said he does not know about taking the picture and even if he did, it would not appear on the DVD as it was of low quality, SITA reported on November 18. Michálik’s attorney believes the photo was altered by Nový Čas for use in its story. Yet, managers of the daily have denied modifying the picture, according to SITA.
During the proceeding, Michálik’s attorney also said that there are altogether seven imitation assault rifles in the bar which are used as decorations, as well as various small sculptures and caps which the visitors often wear. The blue ear defenders were part of a figurine, as reported by SITA.
Moreover, Comorek confirmed that he was contacted by the author of the Nový Čas article one day before it was published, but said that the interview was published without his consent.
The court also heard former interior minister Daniel Lipšic and former general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka. While Lipšic said the published photo proved they were imitating the shooter, Trnka maintained that the photo was fabricated, SITA wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
19. Nov 2013 at 14:00