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Harabin wins €25,000 in damages

THE GENERAL Prosecutor’s Office has to pay €25,000 in damages to Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin, the court ruled.

THE GENERAL Prosecutor’s Office has to pay €25,000 in damages to Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin, the court ruled.

Harabin sued the police for investigating him on suspicions of insurance fraud in a car accident, the Sme daily reported.

Back in 2004 a woman crashed into Harabin’s car in Bratislava, according to Sme. Neither Harabin nor the woman called the police since the damage appeared to be minimal. Harabin however asked the insurer to cover the repair of his car, costing SKK143,000, but the insurance company refused to do so and filed a criminal motion instead.

Police investigator Štefan Birmon, who was involved in the investigation, said however that it was apparent that the accident did not happen as described by the drivers and thus he initiated a criminal prosecution, Sme reported.

The prosecution started in December 2005 but was stopped at Harabin’s behest in June 2006, when Harabin was justice minister in the first government of Robert Fico. Harabin submitted a complaint about the investigation and the court acknowledged that he had suffered trauma that was exacerbated by the fact that he was serving as a judge of the Supreme Court, Sme reported.

The court granted Harabin severance pay totalling €25,000 due to the incorrect procedure of the authorities. The court said that the prosecutor’s office should have stopped the prosecution immediately upon learning that the investigator had ordered to remove Harabin’s judicial immunity in order to be able to charge him. There was allegedly no reason for such a step as the evidence was to the benefit of the judge, Sme wrote.

The Interior Ministry investigated the case based on Harabin’s motion and stopped the criminal prosecution. Harabin said that he was only defending himself from being bullied by the insurer, adding that people should defend themselves against such practices. Courts in Slovakia normally award much smaller compensation for such cases, according to Sme.

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