New prosecutor asks to be withdrawn from Port of Tallinn trial

There have been more incredible developments in the Port of Tallinn corruption trial. State Prosecutor Kadri Väling, who was appointed to replace Denis Tšasovskih on the case, after he unexpectedly stepped down from the role, has now announced that she will not have sufficient time to familiarize herself with the case and therefore also wishes to be withdrawn from the trial, reports Eesti Ekspress.

"I cannot take part in the case due to lack of  expertise [related to the case - ed.]," Väling told Harju County Court last week. "Therefore, there is reason to remove me."

Judge Kristina Väliste replied: "I thank you for your honesty! You have left the court speechless."

According to Eesti Ekspress, the conversation between Väling and Väliste highlights the differences, which have emerged between the Prosecutor's Office and the court.

The issues began to arise after State Prosecutor, Denis Tšasovskih, suddenly resigned from the case. In August, during an interview with ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera," Estonian Chief Prosecutor Andres Parmas, the chief prosecutor, said that "the Prosecutor's Office will not be an obstacle" in the Port of Tallinn trial.

The State Prosecutor's Office then decided that State Prosecutor Kadri Väling, would step into Tšasovskih's shoes. The court had been informed that the new prosecutor would become part of the trial the process in early October.

To the court's surprise, Väling did not appear at the hearings. However, on October 5, the court received a letter from the leading State Prosecutor, Taavi Pern, which stated that Väling would be unable to attend the trial before next spring.

Surprisingly, Pern requested that the court grant a break to the trial of at least six months.

The Port of Tallinn case contains 16,000 pages of text in total. "I haven't even been able to read the charges," said Väling, when later appearing in court.

After taking a day to deliberate, the court opted to dismiss the prosecutor. The court had given Väling three months to familiarize herself with the materials of the Port of Tallinn criminal case – approximately one month more than most of the defense lawyers had had.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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