Supreme Court to deliberate possibly terminating case against Savisaar

Edgar Savisaar in hospital in Jõgeva. 6 October 2018.
Edgar Savisaar in hospital in Jõgeva. 6 October 2018. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Supreme Court of Estonia on Tuesday began deliberating attorney Oliver Nääs' appeal against the court ruling that overturned the termination of Edgar Savisaar's trial due to the state of his health.

The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court should set a date for discussing Nääs' appeal before the end of the year.

In his appeal, Nääs is seeking for the Supreme Court to annul the 14 August ruling of Tallinn Circuit Court which overturned the previous county court ruling and obliged the court to continue the trial of Edgar Savisaar, the ex-mayor of Tallinn and former longtime chairman of the Centre Party.

Nääs believes that the country's top court should enforce the 5 June ruling of Harju County Court according to which the criminal proceeding against Savisaar was terminated due to the health of his client.

"We do not agree with the stance of the circuit court that the county court could not base the termination of the proceeding on the opinion expressed by endocrinologist Vallo Volke according to which the continuation of the criminal proceeding concerning Edgar Savisaar was no longer possible without it directly jeopardising his life and health," Nääs explained.

"In terminating the proceeding, the county court also drew on the opinions previously expressed in the proceeding by Dr. Jaan Eha and Dr. Ralf Allikvee which confirmed the opinions of the expert Volke," he continued. "The county court likewise justifiably drew on hospitalisations via ambulance which have taken place during trials, which have in practice confirmed expert Volke's opinion that continuing the proceeding could directly jeopardise Edgar Savisaar's life and health. The circuit court unjustifiably left out these circumstances and based [their decision] on the mathematical logic that six experts are more than one."

According to the defence lawyer, the circuit court likewise ignored the fact that the expert medical committee that had evaluated Savisaar's health under court order had included experts from various fields, each of whom expressed their opinion regarding their own field. He found that other experts' opinions in other fields do not and cannot invalidate an endocrinologist's opinion, as the various experts evaluated different circumstances.

Nääs added that another issue that the Supreme Court needs to resolve is the matter of the right to appeal, which in prior case-law has been denied in connection with similar rulings terminating proceedings.

Circuit court orders case reopened

Tallinn Circuit Court on 14 August overturned a ruling of the first-tier Harju County Court according to which a criminal proceeding concerning Edgar Savisaar, who stood accused of corruption and economic crimes, was to be terminated due to the poor state of Savisaar's health.

The circuit court found that the termination of the proceeding concerning Savisaar on the grounds of the state of his health had been premature and returned the criminal case to the county court to be resumed.

Nääs told ERR at the time that he would take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court in any case.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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