FORMER justice minister Viera Petríková, who currently serves as the Supreme Court judge, has exceeded her right for freedom of speech and legitimate criticism with her statements about judge Juraj Babjak. This stems from the ruling issued by the senate of the Banská Bystrica Regional Court.
The case pertains to Petríková’s declarations made five years ago in parliament during a no-confidence vote. At the time she indirectly classified Babjak as a corrupt judge who supports crimes. She referred to the procrastinations in a 10-year case over tax fraud worth SK150 million which Babjak “inherited” from his predecessor, the Sme daily reported in its September 4 issue.
The judges then submitted a proposal to launch disciplinary proceeding against Babjak to the Supreme Court and asked it to transpose him to the lower court. Two years later the Supreme Court halted the proceeding, pointing to Babjak being overworked, as reported by Sme.
“The judgments without a true foundation have intervened into a civil and professional honour of the complainant and were objectively eligible to violate his rights,” the senate said, as quoted by Sme, adding that the words Petríková used could have “seriously and groundlessly harmed the reputation of the complainant”.
Petríková can still submit the special appeal against the verdict.
During the rule of the first Robert Fico government (2006-10) Babjak criticised the judiciary and unjust disciplinary proceedings against judges. He belongs to the founding members of the For Open Justice initiative, and has also signed the Five Sentences initiative and protest Stop to Harabin, Sme wrote.
The ruling does not contain the form of compensation for Babjak. During the proceeding, he was asking for apology from Petríková published in the media. He will, however, have to ask for this in another trial.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
4. Sep 2014 at 10:00