The Schadl Völner Case: An Examination of Accusations and Legal Proceedings
The Case Overview
The Schadl Völner case, one of the most significant corruption cases in Hungary in recent years, began in February. It involves accusations of corruption, economic crimes, and crimes against property. The primary defendants are Schadl György, former president of the Hungarian Judicial Executors’ Chamber, and Schadl Baranyai Helga. The defendants, represented by lawyer Gellér Balázs, have lodged a motion with the Metropolitan Court to suspend proceedings and refer the case to the Constitutional Court.
Claims of Fundamental Rights Violations
The motion lodged by the defendants suggests that there are five fundamental rights violations within the proceedings. These violations, it is argued, fall within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court to address and resolve.
1. Wiretapping before the Suspension of Immunity
The motion claims that several accused individuals, including Völner Pál, were wiretapped before their immunity was suspended. There appears to be a contradiction between the rules of the National Assembly and the Criminal Procedure Law regarding the scope of immunity. This issue requires resolution by the Constitutional Court.
2. Agreements with Cooperative Witnesses
It is also questioned how the prosecution formed agreements with so-called “crown witnesses”. These individuals were initially suspected but were given the chance to avoid criminal liability by providing evidence and fully disclosing the crime’s antecedents. The formation of these agreements often occurred without the presence of a defense lawyer, which is a point of contention.
3. Non-compulsory Lawyer at the Preparatory Meeting
The Criminal Procedure Law states that the presence of co-defendants and their defenders at the preparatory meeting is not compulsory. This could lead to situations where a defendant’s lawyer or co-defendant has never seen an accuser who has admitted guilt and later testifies as a witness. The defendants argue this is a fundamental right violation.
4. Influences on Sentencing
The motion questions how the sentencing of defendants who have admitted guilt at the preparatory meeting influences the first-instance court when their sentences go to the second-instance court. It argues that the first-instance court would not sentence according to its conviction, as the sentence already imposed could affect the punishment for a defendant still on trial.
5. National Defense Service Exceeding Authority
The motion suggests that important circumstances related to the ordering of the preparatory proceedings were overlooked. Specifically, it is alleged that the National Defense Service may have exceeded its authority, a serious claim that also requires resolution by the Constitutional Court.
Progress of the Trial
The trial has seen four preparatory meetings and eleven days of hearings so far, with ten defendants admitting guilt and receiving suspended prison sentences. The main defendants, including Schadl György, continue to deny their guilt.
Looking Towards the Future
As the Schadl Völner case continues, the allegations of corruption and economic crimes will be further scrutinized. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for legal proceedings and the interpretation of fundamental rights in Hungary. With the defendants’ motion to suspend proceedings and refer the case to the Constitutional Court, the situation is set to take a potentially unprecedented turn. The coming months will thus be crucial for the defendants, the prosecution, and the Hungarian justice system as a whole.
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