The Supreme Court rejected the prosecution's appeal in the criminal case of former minister Marti Kuusik, meaning that county and circuit court acquittals have entered into force.
The Supreme Court only hears appeals if legal problems surfaced in the first and second court instances or if it is necessary to harmonize and develop court practice. The Supreme Court did not see such grounds in this case.
The Tartu Circuit Court this February upheld the judgment of the Viru County Court to acquit Marti Kuusik of physical abuse this February. Based on evidence presented to the court, it was not possible to prove Kuusik committed the crime, the circuit court found.
Kuusik was charged with causing physical harm to her ex-wife. Viru County Court acquitted Kuusik on May 28, 2021. The decision was appealed by the Prosecutor's Office.
Appeal procedure did not treat with whether physical harm had been caused. Instead, the action concentrated on whether existing evidence was enough to conclude the injuries were caused by Kuusik.
The court explained that statements by witnesses who did not see the incident constituted the only evidence based on which Kuusik could have been convicted. "We could only proceed based on hearsay from witnesses who have not seen the incident and only know of it through the victim's statements after the fact," the court pointed out.
"The court has no doubt that witnesses have been truthful in terms of what they were told by the victim. However, their statements are not enough to determine it was Kuusik who caused the physical harm as it would clash with the spirit of the law."
Kuusik did not admit wrongdoing nor did the victim accuse him of domestic violence. Neither the county court, prosecution nor district court held the victim's statements to have been credible. Mainly because they clash with expert opinions and because the victim has given different parties different versions of what happened, admitting to close friends that Marti Kuusik hit her, while telling others she fell.
Kuusik managed to be foreign trade and IT minister for the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) for under two days before the scandal caused him to resign.
Editor: Marcus Turovski