Ruling SDS Loses Damages Claim Over Patria Corruption Trial

By , 11 Mar 2021, 12:45 PM Politics
Ruling SDS Loses Damages Claim Over Patria Corruption Trial, Hermann CC-by-0

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STA, 11 March 2021 - The Maribor Higher Court has dismissed a damages claim by the ruling Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) against the state over the Patria defence corruption trial a second time in a retrial, in a judgement that has become final, the newspaper Delo reported on Thursday.

The party claimed over EUR 886,000 in pecuniary damages and interest because its leader, incumbent PM Janez Janša, was sentenced to prison ahead of the 2014 general election over a 2006 defence procurement deal. His and co-defendants' convictions were overturned by the Constitutional Court in 2015.

The party argued it sustained irreparable damage through the conviction, alleging that "unlawful conduct" by the judiciary in the Patria case impacted on the party's results in the general elections in 2011 and 2014 as the events related to the trial coincided with the election campaign and elections. Janša was ordered to report in prison shortly before the snap election in 2014.

However, the Maribor Higher Court dismissed the claim again telling Delo that the judgement had become final on 5 January and enforceable on 25 February.

The Supreme Court ordered a retrial in the case last year when it annulled the Higher Court's decision to uphold the May 2018 decision by the Ljubljana District Court to dismiss the claim on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to prove unlawful conduct by judges in the trial.

The Supreme Court held that the second-instance court had failed to provide sufficient explanation why it thought the plaintiff had failed to disprove the District Court's judgement that court actions in the Patria case were in agreement with the standards in "corruption" cases valid at the time.

Janša also claims EUR 900,000 in damages himself from the state, a former prosecutor and four judges involved in the Patria case. His claim has been moved by the Supreme Court from the district court in Celje to the one in Kranj, where Delo was told a decision in the case was not to be expected soon.

Meanwhile, co-defendants have already reached settlements with the state on their claims for wrongful imprisonment.

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