Defender: Pruunsild and Humal's case should be terminated

Paul Keres.
Paul Keres. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Parvel Pruunsild's defender Paul Keres told ERR that even prosecutor Kairi Kaldoja has admitted that section 300 of the Penal Code based on which suspicions were brought against Keres' client is unclear. Keres believe such a legal norm shouldn't even be used.

You have been practicing law for a while. How likely is this case to reach court?

I cannot say and would refrain from speculation. It absolutely would not were it up to me. But it is not.

What happened yesterday morning when the ISS was searching Parvel Pruunsild's home? Did he try to call you?

Yes, he tried to call me. He could not get hold of me the first time, and I had to call him back. The call was answered by an ISS operative who put the phone on loudspeaker and told us to talk. This sparked a rather intense argument as this would not ensure attorney-client confidentiality.

A basic requirement pursuant to the human rights convention, Code of Criminal Procedure, Bar Association Act and the latter's ethics code. We had to argue over that.

I must admit this is the first time I have encountered something like that.

How did ISS operatives explain not allowing an attorney and their client to discuss things confidentially?

Let them provide a justification if they so wish.

Because Parvel Pruunsild has not shed light on this in his statement, I cannot be the one to do it. It could amount to disclosure of pretrial proceedings materials, and I don't want to risk a violation.

Every procedural restrictions violation is different. Could we compare this one to past scandals that have come to light? I am reminded of Keit Pentus-Rosimannus' European Court of Auditors saga, which never resulted in an investigation...

Suspicions against Priit Humal concern a procedural restrictions violation. A similar [unofficial] suspicion was in the air in the case of Pentus-Rosimannus. It was claimed she participated in the process that culminated in her appointment. She was never handed official suspicions.

This leads one to conclude that some politicians are hit with suspicions, while others are not.

Yes, you are right in thinking along those lines. I do not know the details of Pentus-Rosimannus' suspicions. I only know what was claimed publicly. I do, however, know what is held against Parvel Pruunsild. The two things are not similar. Pruunsild is suspected of having aided and abetted in Priit Humal's restrictions violation. An interesting construct in itself.

If it is true that some politicians are slapped with official suspicions for things others are not, that would be a problem. That would constitute selective criminal proceedings, which does not befit a state based on the rule of law. But I would refrain from judging whether that is the case.

What I find a more serious problem is the existence of this penal norm in the first place. I believe this has been highlighted by the justice chancellor using the words, if memory serves, "Give us a person, we'll find the section." And I do believe they were right.

The Prosecutor's Office themselves have criticized the norm. Prosecutor Kairi Kaldoja tried to take the case of former Tartu Deputy Mayor Semilarski to the Supreme Court but failed. She said in her comments that the elements of what constitute a procedural restrictions violation remains unclear. I also find this set of norms to be extremely vague and blurred.

What to do in that case?

I believe that in a situation where the prosecution agrees the norm is not clear, criminal proceedings should not be launched or conducted based on it.

The section needs to be clear not just for the prosecution but primarily for people subject to legal norms, so they would clearly understand what is permitted and what is not. This is not the case presently.

Leaving aside the matter at hand, this puts us in a rather unfortunate situation. For example, it is possible to take a businessman who has backed a certain political party and a ruling politician and tie them together after those in power have made decisions concerning that businessman's area of activity.

That's one way to see it. Because the Anti-Corruption Act offers a very broad definition of procedural restrictions violations. Their effect is entirely up to the prosecution to decide.

They may find that certain activities had an effect in one case, while they may also find there was no effect. It should be more clearly provided when the provision should be applied, how it should be applied and regarding whom. Relevant regulation is especially vague when it comes to aiding and abetting.

What will happen next?

I would very much like to see criminal proceedings terminated.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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