Supreme Court decision on Savisaar case before year end

The cover of Mr Savisaar's new book, ''Politics and Romance'', available from all good bookstores and on Wednesday signed by the man himself at a public appearance.
The cover of Mr Savisaar's new book, ''Politics and Romance'', available from all good bookstores and on Wednesday signed by the man himself at a public appearance. Source: Kuvatõmmis

The continuation or otherwise of criminal proceedings against former Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar is to be resolved by the end of 2018 at the Supreme Court, it is reported.

A dispute concerning the termination of the proceedings, which concerned corruption accusations and which have been off and on for over 18 months and were abandoned in the summer due to Mr Savisaar's supposed health issues is due to be discussed as per Supreme Court standard procedure.

In accordance with that procedure, a verdict should be drawn up within 30 days of the discussion of the case, meaning a decision can be expected before Christmas.

In and out of all three levels of court system

Mr Savisaar's case was originally terminated in June by the Harju County Court. This was escalated to the second-tier Circuit Court, at the office of the prosecutor general's request, which overuled the lower court's ruling in August and said the hearing should go ahead.

Next came the turn of Mr Savisaar's lawyer, Oliver Naas, to appeal, which he did in October, with the buck stopping at the highest court in the land. If the pattern continues, it seems likely the third decision will rule in favour of Mr Savisaar.

Whether further appeals at the European courts can be pursued is not yet clear.

Expert opinion on Mr Savisaar's health (originally it was claimed he was close to death) have said that his conditions, listed as blood pressure and blood sugar issues related with hypertension and diabetes, are not serious enough to preclude sitting in court hearings, or for that matter, serve time in prison if it came to that, albeit under adequate medical supervision.

Ongoing health issues

Questions were also raised by the public prosecutor Steven-Hristo Evestus as to the procedure surrounding some of Mr Savisaar's medical precautions, notably an undocumented stay in Jõgeva hospital in the summer.

Mr Savisaar, who played a pivotal role in the drive for Estonian independence and was a founder member of the Centre Party, had to have a leg amputated in 2015 following a streptococcal infection contracted on an overseas visit.

The time between the halting of hearings and the present has seen the proposed restoring of Mr Savisaar's Tallinn city council seat, or even his running in the May 2019 European election (where winning a seat would confer legal immunity) have both been on the cards; MR Savisaar also appeared at a presentation of his book, ''Politics and Romance'', at a central Tallinn bookshop on Wednesday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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