Robert Okoličány, the boss of the eastern-Slovak gangland was handed a life sentence on April 11 despite being at large. The issue of a European warrant for his arrest will not be possible any time soon, the Specialised Criminal Court (STS) spokesperson Katarína Kudjaková told the TASR newswire.
On April 12, The Denník N daily broke the news that Okoličány failed to attend a court session in person the day before. Okoličány was under surveillance by the police but managed to evade officers and flee from justice abroad, according to the daily. Okoličány’s right-hand man, Robert Nigút, who received a life sentence as well, is also on the run.
International warrant may take too long
The STS may issue a european arrest warrant only after it receives the extensive file on the case, almost 20,000 pages long, from the Supreme Court. Delivering the verdict and the file could take weeks. If the european warrant fails, an international arrest warrant can be issued next.
Interior Minister Tomáš Drucker expressed hope that the convicts will be captured and made to serve their sentences in this case as soon as possible, in a similar manner to other cases in recent years when the police have managed to successfully capture individuals who had evaded justice for more than ten years,” Interior Ministry spokesperson, Andrea Dobiašová, said, as quoted by TASR.
The Supreme Court handed down a life sentence to Okoličány on April 11, with no appeals possible.
Police deny any blame
The Police claim, as cited by the Sme daily, that they did not know about Wednesday’s court session and that they only found out about the escape after being asked by court to bring Okoličány to prison.
It seems that this is nothing unusual; last month, Dávid Brtva, sentenced to nine years for embezzlement of non-licensed financial institutions BMG and Horizont, also managed to flee. Okoličány is already the third escape this year.
The Police, led by much criticised president Tibor Gašpar, deny any wrongoing arguing that they did not know that the verdict in the case that had already lasted for 11 years was to be pronounced on that day. “Neither the courts, nor the prosecutor’s office announce the dates of sessions, not to mention the way in which the case will be decided,” the police presidium explained for Sme.
The Prosecutor’s office also denies any failings.
Police president to go?
Minister Drucker did not clarify whether he considers the latest escape to be the failure of Police President Tibor Gašpar, and whether this may be a reason to recall him. He only commented that he hopes the convicts will promptly be delivered to prison.
Drucker plans to announce on April 12 or 13, whether he will dismiss Gašpar or leave him in office until new rules for the election of the Head of Police become valid.
13. Apr 2018 at 6:44 | Compiled by Spectator staff