Harju County Court on Tuesday issued an order for Edgar Savisaar, defendant in a graft case as part of which he was excluded from the office of the mayor of Tallinn, to undergo a forensic medical committee examination.
Experts must determine whether Savisaar suffers from an irreparable serious illness and, if so, whether he is able to participate in criminal proceedings and serve his possible sentence, spokespeople for the courts told BNS.
Oliver Nääs, the lawyer representing Savisaar, applied on March 21 for the court to terminate the proceedings concerning Savisaar due to the latter's bad health and resulting inability to either stand trial or serve a resulting sentence. Nääs also submitted to the court Savisaar's medical records and evaluations given by four doctors.
The court found that even though experts have given their opinions that court proceedings may cause a great risk to Savisaar's health, some of those opinions are speculative. Assumptions that court proceedings may bring forth high risks to the health of the accused are not sufficient evidence for the court to end the proceedings. It is obvious that the health condition of the accused may change during court proceedings as the process can be stressful and tiring, but this does not automatically mean that the accused is unable to take part in the proceedings, spokespeople said.
As Savisaar has been diagnosed with various illnesses and physical disability, the court believes that ordering a committee examination for Savisaar is justified. According to law, the examination will be carried out by experts from the Estonian Forensic Science Institute (EKEI).
Ordered medical examination not contestable
The county court agreed to two of the three questions prepared for the experts by the defense attorney, who also wanted to ask how participating in long-term court proceedings, including actively defending himself during hearings, may influence Savisaar's medical condition. According to the court, the last question was not relevant and would require a hypothetical answer from the experts, which the court could not use in determining whether circumstances existed which would preclude the proceedings.
EKEI must inform the court as soon as possible regarding the approximate time of completion of the experts' report.
According to the law, court proceedings are precluded in cases where the defendant suffers from an irreparable serious illness and is thus unable to take part in the court proceedings or serve their potential sentence.
The court ruling made on Tuesday regarding the medical examination was not contestable, spokespeople added.
This Thursday, the court will announce another regulation which will incllude either prosecution and the processing of the applications submitted by both parties of the proceedings or the returning of the statement of charges to the Office of the Prosecutor. No preliminary court hearing will take place on April 13; the court will inform the public of the contents of the regulation via press release.
The Office of the Prosecutor General has charged Savisaar, the ex-mayor of Tallinn and former longtime chairman of the Center Party, with accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement and accepting prohibited donations for the Center Party. The same charges have also been lodged against Alexander Kofkin, Vello Kunman, Villu Reiljan, Hillar Teder, Kalev Kallo, Aivar Tuulberg, Priit Kutser and the Center Party itself.
Editor: Aili Vahtla