Jicin - A Czech court today sentenced former judge Josef Knotek to 5.5 years in prison for corruption and abuse of power in the case of manipulated court proceedings, and it imposed suspended sentences on another three employees of the district court in Litomerice.
Okresní soud v Jičíně začal 15. dubna projednávat případ litoměřických soudců Josefa Knotka (druhý zprava) a Ladislava Jelínka (vpravo) obžalovaných z korupce a zneužití pravomocí úřední osoby. Obžalobě čelí i soudní zapisovatelka a tři lidé, kteří byli podle spisu se soudci v přátelském vztahu a upláceli je. ČTK Taneček David
The case of the fifth suspect, Jiri Jelinek, who is also a Litomerice court judge, has been passed to his "home court" to debate it as a disciplinary offence.
The two judges repatedly influenced the results of court proceedings in exchange for money, the court said.
The verdict has not taken effect. Both the state attorneys and the defence said they would consider whether to appeal it.
Apart from the jail sentence, Knotek has also been fined 200,000 crowns.
The three court employees with suspended sentences have been fined as well.
State attorney Radim Dragoun said he feels 80 percent satisfied with the verdict.
"I view the verdict as a sign showing both the judiciary and the public that corruption in judiciary is inadmissible," he said.
Dragoun said he has lodged a complaint against Jelinek´s case being assessed as a disciplinary offence.
Before the verdict was delivered, Dragoun proposed a suspended sentence for Jelinek.
According to the prosecution, the dates of court proceedings were manipulated in three of the suspicious cases, while a driving ban was manipulated once and criminal proceedings were influenced in one case as well.
Knotek figures in all five cases.
Jelinek, acting on Knotek´s advice, adjourned the date of a court session in exchange for a bottle of alcohol, the court said.
The then justice minister put Knotek and Jelinek temporarily off duty in 2012. Knotek resigned as a judge in May 2013.
The suspects refused to testify in court. Jelinek only said he did nothing unlawful.
The defence lawyers repeatedly objected that some evidence, including wiretapped conversations, had been gained at variance with law.