Lawyer Franci Matoz filed a motion with the Ministry of Justice for supervision at the District Court in Ljubljana due to irregularities in the execution of case law in the Trenta case. Now, on behalf of his party, Prime Minister Janez Janša, he also sent a request to the president of the Ljubljana District Court, Marjan Pogačnik, to remove judge David Špernjak from the case in question. Judge David Špernjak already participated in the Trenta case as a prosecutor. The fourth article of the first paragraph of Article 39 of the Criminal Procedure Act states that a judge must be excluded from the proceedings if he participated in the same criminal case as a prosecutor, defence counsel, legal representative or attorney of the injured party or the prosecution, or if he was part of the trial as a witness or expert. Will the president of the Ljubljana District Court Marjan Pogačnik and the Minister of Justice Lilijana Kozlovič take action?
In the case of Trenta, the mainstream media is once again deliberately overlooking the legal errors in the judicial process. They prefer to write about how the defence attorney Franci Matoz is supposedly trying to postpone the start of the trial through the legal proceedings. However, in a short period of time, we discovered serious violations in the case that would also be discovered by any law student after their first month of studying at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana.
Namely, the role of judge David Špernjak in the case is disputable. Prior to taking office, the proposed judge Špernjak worked at the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office and was already familiarised with the Trenta case. This is also proven by the document with the testimony of a prosecutor of the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Slovenia, Boštjan Valenčič. Therefore, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph one of Article 41 of the Criminal Procedure Act, they submitted an amendment to the request for the removal of judge Špernjak.
Judge David Špernjak found himself in a conflict of interest in the Trenta case, so he should have been excluded
David Špernjak acted as a prosecutor at the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office before he became a judge. He already became acquainted with the Trenta case when he was still working there. Article 39 of the Criminal Procedure Act clearly states why Špernjak should be excluded from the trial. The fourth article of the first paragraph of Article 39 of the Act states that a judge must be excluded from the proceedings in cases where he previously participated as a prosecutor, defence counsel, legal representative or attorney of the injured party or the prosecution, or if he was part of the trial as a witness or expert.
The defence attorney in the Trenta case, Franci Matoz, once again demanded that the president of the Ljubljana District Court Marjan Pogačnik enable the right to a statement from Article 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. He continued that the third paragraph of Article 42 of the Criminal Procedure Act imposes on the president of the court the duty to obtain a statement from a judge and, if necessary, make other inquiries as well, before deciding on a proposal for exclusion. Janez Janša’s lawyer claims that they are obliged to inform them of the judges’ statements before Pogačnik’s decision. The defence expects that Pogačnik will acquaint them with the statements and also hand them over. He must also leave adequate time for the defence to prepare a response.
Lawyer Matoz expects the president of the Ljubljana District Court to carry out all the necessary procedures, which does not exclude the provision of personal evidence through hearings of the proposed witnesses or parties, in order to verify the grounds for exclusion or refusal. We have already reported in our media that these are just a few of the mistakes that happened in the said case. We must not forget that Judge Milena Turuk should not be part of the court senate in this case either.
Lawyer Matoz sent a proposal to the Minister of Justice, Lilijana Kozlovič, to supervise the work of the president of the Ljubljana District Court, Marjan Pogačnik. Will the Ministry of Justice take action?
Prime Minister Janez Janša’s defence team decided to take action in the Trenta legal case. Namely, it filed a motion for supervision at the District Court in Ljubljana. Judging from what was written, at the current stage of the proceedings, obvious irregularities in the execution of the court administration are happening. In the justification of the proposal for supervision, addressed to the Ministry of Justice, Matoz wrote the following: “After several answers and the obvious errors in these answers, we found that we can reasonably claim that in the assignment of the said criminal case, there were obvious errors in the execution of the judicial administration, which according to Article 146 of the Criminal Code, is entrusted to the president of the court.”
In October last year, the Slovenian public received news of the beginning of a lengthy procedure in the Trenta case, which involves the sale of real estate in Trenta by Prime Minister Janez Janša. This is a continuation of the proceedings, in which Janša was accused of illegally selling a plot of land in Trenta. Despite the fact that most reasonable citizens know that this is just another judicial burlesque directed by the centres of power of the transitional left, the mainstream media have once again started publishing photos of the demolished houses in Trenta. The minority media quickly found out that this was a manipulation. We also showed some of the land in the vicinity of Trenta, some of which was even valued at 100 to 250 thousand euros.
We have previously already reported that after a long procedure, an indictment was filed last year against Prime Minister Janez Janša for selling land in Trenta. However, in the procedure, the judiciary used unusual and even controversial maneuvres that have undermined the appearance of impartiality and independence. As is known, judge Tomaž Bromše was replaced in the proceedings by David Špernjak in a three-member senate, which also includes judge Milena Turuk and Irena Škulj Gradišar. One of the judges who will decide on Janša’s objection against the indictment was replaced in the proceedings, and Janša’s lawyer believes that this decision was not correct, and he also added that Špernjak’s non-biased deciding in the mentioned case is questionable, as they believe that under the mentorship of Primož Gorkič, he was heavily influenced regarding Janša. Franci Matoz has now filed a motion to disqualify the judges, noting that the case has been misallocated to the specialised department. Janša’s defence also demands a public hearing of the objection against the indictment, so a public session of the senate in a changed composition.
The problem arose when judge Milena Turuk, who was listed as the Judge-Rapporteur on the 14th of January 2021, signed the letter. In view of this, the Prime Minister’s lawyer Franci Matoz demanded that the court, headed by Marjan Pogačnik, immediately hand over the minutes and all other documentation to the defence in order to verify the correctness of the case and thus the selection of a so-called “natural judge.”
Turuk wrote, in her defence, that this was only a mistake and explained that the court senate would be composed in accordance with the rules of the Annual Work Schedule of the District Court in Ljubljana for the year 2021. However, Matoz listed another violation in his letter. He pointed out the violation of Article 156 of the Judicial Code. The second paragraph of this article states that if several initial procedural acts are filed on the same day, the files shall be sorted in alphabetical order of the initials of the first parties’ surnames and assigned to the judges in alphabetical order. These are just two of several violations that any student of the Ljubljana Faculty of Law could easily find in no time.
The facts show that the Minister of Justice, Lilijana Kozlovič’s team, should implement some serious supervision in the Trenta case. No one wants the obvious violations highlighted by lawyer Franci Matoz to simply go unnoticed. This would confirm the claims of all the citizens who have been saying for a long time now that there is a lot of injustice in our country. The current Minister of Justice has the opportunity to take action and protect the reputation of the Slovenian judicial authorities. Whether she will actually choose to do so remains to be seen in the future.