Circuit court to rule Tuesday on closing Savisaar case ({{commentsTotal}})

Savisaar (right) in court on Aug. 31, 2017.
Savisaar (right) in court on Aug. 31, 2017. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The second-tier Tallinn Circuit Court is set to announce its ruling on Tuesday on an appeal against the termination of the criminal case concerning Tallinn ex-mayor and former longtime chairman of the Centre Party Edgar Savisaar.

Harju County Court ruled on 5 June to terminate the criminal proceeding concerning Savisaar, who stood accused of corruption and economic crimes, citing the defendant's poor health and stating that the ruling is final and not subject to appeal.

The Office of the Prosecutor General did not agree with the court's decision, however, and decided to contest it. The second-tier court accepted the appeal, and decided that the case should be reviewed in written form. The court ruling is to be announced on Tuesday, 14 August at 14:00 EEST, spokespeople for the court said.

The substantive argument of the Office of the Prosecutor General in contesting the county court ruling was that two expert medical assessments had been done of Savisaar during the past year, both of which concluded that Savisaar was fit to stand trial. Thus it remained unclear to the prosecutor's office why the court would base its ruling on the opinion of the sole dissenting expert and one dispatch of paramedics.

Chief State Prosecutor Steven-Hristo Evestus said in June that according to the Prosecutor's Office, the court without justification discounted the expert opinion of six doctors to conduct the expert medical assessment and did not explain convincingly why the court found that the final conclusions of the expert assessment should not be taken into consideration by the court and Savisaar be declared unfit to stand trial.

"Also, during the court's last session, the defendant was at Jõgeva Hospital again, and no official document concerning the reasons for the hospital stay was presented in the courtroom," Evestus noted. "In addition, this indicates that throughout the duration of the final court sessions, the defendant has been placed in one specific medical institution, which requires additional explanation."

According to the chief state prosecutor, the Prosecutor's Office fully agrees that in certain cases, the termination of criminal proceedings due to a suspect or defendant's extremely difficult health condition is justified, but in the current case, the county court has conducted no procedures to question the doctors who conducted the expert medical assessment to gain more clarity on the reasons and grounds for the dissenting opinion.

"Likewise, the court has not given consideration to creating other additional conditions that would enable the trial to continue," Evestus continued. "In conclusion, the Prosecutor's Office finds that the decision on termination is not substantively grounded, and that the exclusion of the primary defendant should be explained especially convincingly by the court."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS



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