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Supreme Court to rule on Savisaar within month

Edgar Savisaar at his book launch. 14 November 2018.
Edgar Savisaar at his book launch. 14 November 2018. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Supreme Court of Estonia on Wednesday discussed the possibility of terminating criminal proceedings against Tallinn ex-mayor and former longtime Centre Party chairman Edgar Savisaar, who faces accusations of corruption. The top court will make its decision within one month.

In a written procedure, the Supreme Court discussed the appeal of attorneys Oliver Nääs and Gretta Oltjer-Timberg against a court ruling annulling the release of Edgar Savisaar from trial due to the state of his health.

As is routine, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling within one month of discussing the appeal, or no later than 21 December.

With their appeal, Savisaar's defence attorneys are seeking for the Supreme Court to annul the 14 August ruling of Tallinn Circuit Court which annulled a previous county court judgment and ordered the proceedings against Savisaar continue.

Nääs believes that the Supreme Court should enforce Harju County Court's 5 June ruling, which terminated the proceedings against Savisaar in light of the state of his health.

"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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