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Judge goes to vacation – robbers set free!

The main “hero” of this material was a judge who went on vacation without settling all his current affairs, for which he was punished. In the opinion of the disciplinary body, which applied the sanctions initiated by the prosecutor’s office, the issue that the judge had to decide was not complicated and there were no circumstances that complicated his decision either.

Background for understanding

The Third Disciplinary Chamber of the High Council of Justice considered a disciplinary case opened following a complaint by the head of the prosecutor’s office regarding a judge.

The “complainer” informed the Council that the judge, during the consideration of one of the criminal cases, “ignored” the obligation to take measures to consider the petition of the prosecutor’s office – he did not extend the terms of detention of two persons accused of robbery combined with violence.

“The prosecutor pointed out in the complaint that the petition that was not considered by the judge actually became the reason for the impossibility of further procedural actions. The consequence of this was the expiration of the term of detention of the accused in custody”.

In mid-July, the prosecutor’s office filed a petition to extend this period for another 2 months, since the judge was “scheduled” for another vacation (from 03.08. to 04.09). At the end of July, the judge appointed a preparatory hearing for September 17, although he knew that the term of detention of the accused in custody would end earlier – on August 16.

The prosecutor’s office “asked” the judge to take this moment into account – to solve the problem before August 16. The judge “reacted” to the request on July 30 – he notified the prosecutor’s office that the application could not be considered before the preparatory hearing, and also accused the prosecution of pressure on himself.

The judge went on vacation …

The terms of detention expired, the citizens accused of violence and robbery were released, and the prosecutor’s office handed over the act of the judge to the disciplinary body!

The judge, full of strength after the vacation, declared in his defense that the charges against him were absolutely groundless, since:

  1. The case “got” to him by the “will” of the automated distribution protocol, and he received it only on July 27, on the same day he scheduled a preparatory hearing for September 17 (on other days he was busy), and on July 31 he had it was the last working day before the vacation.
  2. Appointment of a preliminary court session for 5 working days, in his opinion, would be a gross violation of the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as consideration of the petition before the preliminary hearing of the case.
  3. The law does not provide for the judge’s obligation to schedule a preparatory hearing before the expiration of the term of the preventive measures, and this was also hindered by the existence of a challenge filed by the criminal lawyer of the accused.

The prosecutor’s office neutralized the judge’s arguments

72 hours! Exactly how much time the law gives the judge to resolve the issue, if it is not regulated (ambiguously regulated) by the provisions of the law.

The norm in regards 72 hours states that the decision by the court of the issue of preventive measures is implemented in the manner prescribed by Chapter 18 of the CPCU without delay, but no later than 72 hours from the moment of receipt of the petition.

From the beginning of the proceedings to the beginning of the vacation, the judge had as many as 5 days, but he did not solve the problem, for which he was punished, because the issue of extending the term of detention of criminals behind bars, which was completely solvable and absolutely not difficult.

13.10.2021

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