First fine for Mariatchi beating

ONE OF the perpetrators in the beating attack at the Mariatchi bar in downtown Nitra, the video of which shocked the Slovak public early this year, will receive a €400 fine in the first penalty handed down from the case.

ONE OF the perpetrators in the beating attack at the Mariatchi bar in downtown Nitra, the video of which shocked the Slovak public early this year, will receive a €400 fine in the first penalty handed down from the case.

The Bratislava I District Court approved the fine after professional soldier Tomáš Spišiak admitted his role in the October 2013 attack. Spišiak joined the group of skinheads beating a group of customers of the Mariatchi bar in downtown Nitra, and kicked one of the victims lying on the ground, unable to protect himself, in the head.

Spišiak must pay the €400, as well as compensation to the health insurance company Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa for treatment costs which have been estimated at €12.60.

Radovan Richtárik, the owner of the Mariatchi bar, whose leg was broken in the New Year’s assault, considers the punishment a mild one.

“He could have injured a man for life, and it was only a lucky strike that nothing worse had happened,” Richtárik told the Pravda daily.

The agreement on guilt and punishment was initiated by the defendant, who spontaneously admitted his guilt of committing the deed and the evidence proved his confession. He also regretted his actions, General Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Andrea Predajňová said.

“The type and the severity of the punishment corresponds with the way in which the defendant participated in the deed,” Predajňová said.

Others face prison time

The Sme daily published the images, which show the youths kicking one victim in the head repeatedly, on January 28. The incident was reportedly just one in a series of similar attacks. The victims of the attack were patrons in front of the Mariatchi bar in downtown Nitra, a popular student hangout.

October’s attack was not the only such incident to have occurred at Mariatchi. On New Year’s Eve, customers were attacked by neo-Nazis from Walhala, a neighbouring club. Though it was officially listed as a “private card-playing club”, it was a pub whose clientele regularly get drunk and misbehave, Richtárik told Sme.

Though the first attack was recorded on the city’s street cameras and the attackers’ faces are visible, the police waited until after Sme broke the story to charge the perpetrators.

While Spišiak got off with a fine, the other five attackers are facing punishment of up to 12 years in prison for doing serious physical harm, as some of the victims suffered concussions.

The prosecutor discarded the fined attacker from the main group of accused people because the soldier withdrew from the initial clash and was not involved in further, more serious attacks, according to Sme.

Spišiak was also suspended from the army after he was accused in the case, and now he will have to resign.

“After the effective verdict is delivered, his service will be terminated,” Defense Ministry spokeswoman Martina Balleková told Sme.

Punished prosecutors

Despite having access to the recordings from the town’s street cameras, the police delayed taking any action on the first incident. In the case of the October 2013 attack, the municipal police arrived on the scene shortly after the assault started, detained the alleged culprits and brought them to the police department. The case, however, remained stalled for the next three months.

A review of the botched investigation into the attack has led to punishment for the prosecutors but not for the police officers involved in the case.

In March, Nitra regional prosecutor Vojtech Ernest reproached the two prosecutors who dealt with the case for elementary violation of duties, the mildest form of disciplinary punishment the regional prosecutor can administer without discussing it with a disciplinary committee.

The reprimands came after General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár criticised the Nitra prosecutors in early February before the parliamentary committee for security and defence over their handling of the two attacks.

They came only after the media reported on them and published a video from the municipal security camera that recorded the earlier incident.

Čižnár did not accept the mild reprimands Ernest administered to the two prosecutors who allegedly mishandled the cases, and Čižnár then dismissed a district prosecutor in Nitra and submitted disciplinary motions against the two supervising prosecutors.

In March, Čižnár in turn punished Ernest, who had penalised the two prosecutors with a warning and a reproach, the mildest forms of disciplinary actions that the regional prosecutor can administer.
None of the police officers involved in the case were punished.

“No shortcoming by authorised police officers was found during the investigation of the case,” Interior Ministry spokesman Ivan Netík told Sme at the time.

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