Marika Väli, head of the expert committee that conducted a court-ordered medical examination of suspended Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar, 67, in the latter's graft case, confirmed on Tuesday that Savisaar's mental faculties have not deteriorated to such a degree that he could not participate in six-hour court sessions.
During questioning in Harju County Court on Tuesday, Väli did not agree with the claim of defense lawyer Oliver Nääs that Savisaar, the former longtime head of the Center Party, might not be able to endure long court sessions. She highlighted the fact that when experts questioned Savisaar during a period of 45 minutes to one hour, his mental capabilities were good, he was active, willing to cooperate and was perfectly aware of what was going on around him.
Väli said that should Savisaar feel tired during the session, it is indeed necessary to allow him a break. She said that Savisaar's questioning should take an hour maximum and should be followed by a 20-30 minute break. Väli also said that Savisaar will be able to endure court sittings by following a sustainable lifestyle, which consists of sufficient sleep, an appropriate diet as well as following the treatment plan prescribed by treating physicians.
The expert said that should Savisaar's health deteriorate, the court must be prepared to quickly call an ambulance and that it would not be a bad idea for there to be a doctor in the courtroom with the necessary skills to intervene should the patient's health worsen.
While the defense argued that Savisaar's mental health was poor following the amputation of his leg in 2015 and that this had been confirmed by medical records at the time, Väli emphasized that the doctors who handled Savisaar's medical history had not mentioned the patient's mental issues later on. "Of course Savisaar's mental capability has decreased, but not to an extent that would not allow him to participate in court sessions," she said.
The expert also repeatedly emphasized that executors of the medical examination could not engage in the medical treatment of the person subject to the medical examination as this was the task of Savisaar and his physicians.
Savisaar declared fit to stand trial last week
The fact that Savisaar must stand trial was finally established at the beginning of June, when a four-member expert committee at the Estonian Forensic Science Institute determined that the suspended mayor is able to attend the hearings of the graft case and bear liability in spite of his medical condition.
On the first day of the trial on Monday, Nääs requested that Väli be summoned and questioned regarding exactly how many hours per day Savisaar could stand trial. "According to the [medical] report, the state of his health does not allow for him to have long days," he claimed.
Despite this concern, Savisaar was by noon already pictured on social media attending a festive Russia Day reception held at the Russian Embassy in Tallinn together with Center Party parliamentary group members Olga Ivanova and Oudekki Loone.
The Office of the Prosecutor General has brought charges against Savisaar for accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement, and accepting prohibited donation for the Center Party. The same charges have been lodged against Alexander Kofkin, Vello Kunman, Villu Reiljan, Hillar Teder, Kalev Kallo, Aivar Tuulberg, Priit Kutser and the Center Party.
Editor: Aili Vahtla