Kuciak case: Court overturned the acquittal of Kočner. What happens next?

The original verdict had been surrounded by questions since before it was delivered.

Marian Kocner at the Supreme Court, June 15, 2021. Marian Kocner at the Supreme Court, June 15, 2021. (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubco)

The prosecutors and lawyers of the bereaved families have convinced the Supreme Court senate that it was premature to acquit Marian Kočner in the case of the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová and that the case needs to be tried some more.

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The defendants in the case are Marian Kočner, the suspected mastermind behind the murder, and his decoy Alena Zsuzsová, who was to be the one to order it, according to the prosecutors. The Specialised Criminal Court acquitted them of charges in September 2020, citing the lack of evidence for a guilty verdict.

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"The Specialised Criminal Court is ordered to try the issue again and decide," the head of the Supreme Court senate, Judge Peter Paluda, stated and offered vast criticism of the work of the first-instance court in the case.

Tomáš Szabó, whom the prosecution believes to have participated in the murder as a driver, was, on the other hand, sentenced to 25 years in prison. The punishment also involves the case of the murder of businessman Peter Molnár. The Supreme Court confirmed that sentence.

Middleman Zoltán Andruskó and hitman Miroslav Marček have confessed to having committed the crime and they have both received prison sentences in separate trials.

"The verdict as such is internally controversial, issued prematurely based on an insufficiently investigated situation. The court did not admit or rejected admitting certain proof as proposed by the procedural sides," Prosecutor Vladimír Turan wrote in his appeal to the Specialised Criminal Court verdict.

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The Supreme Court, which acts as the court of appeals in this case, has upheld its opinion. The judges on the senate decided unanimously.

The case will now go back to the Specialised Criminal Court, where it will be tried by the original senate of Judge Ružena Sabová. The court does not need to deal with all the evidence again, but it will be required to admit the evidence that the Supreme Court will bind it to look at in its written decision.

Doubts about the verdict

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