UPDATED: The start of trial in the Kuciak and Kušnírová murder case set

A preliminary hearing was required by Marian Kočner’s lawyers. It’s not common.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

The trial concerning the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová will start on December 19.

The indictment will be preliminarily heard starting at 9:00 in the Judicial Academy building in Pezinok, said Katarína Kudjáková, spokesperson of the Specialised Criminal Court, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office filed criminal charges against Marian Kočner, Tomáš Szabó, Miroslav Marček and Alena Zsuzsová on October 21. The indictment concerns six crimes, including two first-degree murders.

The accused are currently all in custody.

The trial date of another person accused in the case, Zoltán Andruskó, who has already signed a plea bargain with the prosecutor, has not been set, TASR wrote.

Several charges on the table

Related articleKočner went to his bank safes after the murder Read more 

As the prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office wrote in the indictment, Kočner is said to have ordered the murder of Kuciak in late 2017 or early 2018 as revenge for the stories focused on his economic criminal activities.

The investigation file has more than 25,000 pages and dozens of attachments, including seized money and valuables. The indictment has 93 pages, TASR wrote.

Apart from murder, Marček and Szabó also face charges for murdering Peter Molnár, a businessman from Kolárovo (Nitra Region) who is said to have been killed in 2016. Moreover, Marček, Szabó and Kočner are accused of unauthorised arming.

Preliminary hearing not common

When the court decides to hold a preliminary hearing of an indictment before the main trial, it may demonstrate some holes in the substantiation, or enable the accused to admit guilt and avoid court, the Sme daily reported.

These hearings take place only rarely, and are often not a rule even in big mafia cases, said former prosecutor Eva Mišíková. She however does not expect that the decision of the Specialised Criminal Court in the Kuciak and Kušnírová murder case will indicate any problems when proving the guilt of the offenders.

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