published: 23.01.2013, 15:02 | updated: 23.01.2013 15:05:52
Prague - A Prague district court today acquitted lawmaker Vit Barta (Public Affairs, VV) of bribery charges and the case will go to the Prague Municipal Court because the state attorney appealed both verdicts.
Barta was charged with bribing his party colleagues into loyalty and pushing through his interests in the VV and Skarka was charged with taking the bribe and of having used a part of the money.
District court panel chairman Jan Sott justified Barta´s acquittal saying Barta´s deeds are not a criminal offence.
In Skarka´s case it was not proved that the deed for which he is prosecuted really happened, Sott said.
He said the appeals court ordered that the district court announce the appeals court´s decision as its own verdict. He said the district court does not agree with the decision, but it must respect it.
The state attorney said say insists on her charges.
According to the indictment, Barta gave his then party fellow lawmakers, Skarka and Kristyna Koci, 170,000 and 500,000 crowns, respectively.
In its verdict of April 20l2, the same court sentenced Barta to 18 months in prison with a probation for bribing party colleagues and Skarka was given a three-year prison sentence and a ten-year ban on activities as an MP.
The Prague Municipal Court, however, cancelled the verdict last November and the case was returned for a reappraisal. According to the appeals court, whose opinion was obligatory for the court today, neither Barta nor Skarka committed any criminal offence.
Barta, who resigned as transport minister over the case, defended himself today saying he only lent money to Skarka and Koci.
The Prague Municipal Court will deal with the case once more, probably reaching its previous conclusion that Barta and Skarka are innocent. Its verdict will take effect and it may only be challenged the supreme state attorney if he appeals to the Supreme Court.
Sott today strongly criticised the Supreme Court that ruled last October that Barta cannot be sued for offering loans to other lawmakers, but only for handing over the money to them because the offer was made in the lower house of parliament.
He said the lawmaker´s immunity was not interpreted so broadly before.
Sott said this in fact meant that corruption by lawmakers occurring in parliament and related to their mandate cannot be punished as a crime.
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