Re-elected MPs guilty verdict upheld in district court (1)
Tallinn District Court ruled today that it will not overturn Harju County Court's guilty verdict of Center Party MPs Priit Toobal and Lauri Laasi. In October 2014, Toobal and Laasi were found guilty of instigating unauthorized surveillance.
Toobal was given a one-year suspended sentence with three years probation, and Laasi a nine-month suspended sentence with three years probation, for encouraging a third party to hack the email account of Hannes Rumm, head of the European Commission's representation in Estonia. Toobal was also found guilty of forging several Center Party's income declarations to hide illegal cash donations. For that, the Center Party has to pay a 10,000-euro fine.
Although Toobal and Laasi contested the court's decision, their sentences will stand, said Tallinn District Court's representative Anneli Vilu.
Fellow MPs decided to strip Toobal and Laasi of diplomatic immunity in March 2014, so they could stand trial. According to the accusations, Toobal and Laasi incited Ivor Onksion, a former party member, to illegally access Rumm’s e-mail and forwarded the contents to them.
Neither have ever pleaded guilty to the charges and will now appeal to the Supreme Court. Toobal told ERR's radio news that the trial was politically motivated.
If the guilty verdict stands in the Supreme Court, both will loose their seats in the Parliament.
But for now, both continue in the Parliament. Although neither managed to secure a mandate in their respective districts, they ranked high enough in the Center Party's nationwide list to secure a compensation seat. Laasi is also the MP with the lowest number of votes to his name - 407.