Back to Startpage  
Other Languages

11.10.2001: 27th court day

Court refuses to interrupt the trial

As announced the previous trial day, the criminal panel today declared its decision on the request by the defence for a stay of proceedings. The latter demanded the interruption of the trial for the amount of time necessary to evaluate the evidence (1,480 tapes and other material resulting from the interception of the Crown Witness), which was only recently handed over by the public prosecution (Bundesanwaltschaft - BAW) and the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (Bundeskriminalmamt - BKA).

The panel rejected the request by the defence and thereby refused to interrupt the proceedings. They argued that an interruption was not appropriate. The court held that the question of the importance of the evidence had to be judged against the duty by the court to ensure swift proceedings. However, after viewing the material, the panel - in agreement with the BKA - came to the conclusion that the recently appeared material did not constitute relevant evidence to the case and that the defence had not proven this relevance in their request. As each of the accused also had two duty solicitors at their disposal, a parallel examination of the tapes next to the current proceedings was perfectly possible, the court thought.

The defence, in the name of all the accused, reacted to this decision by bringing forward motions against the panel judges on grounds of bias. The panel's decision, said the defence, amounted to a presupposed assessment of evidence, whereby the panel had appropriated the viewpoint of the BKA. Further, with its decision, the panel violated against the principle of truth finding as well as the principle of ensuring swift proceedings. In order to establish the truth, the examination of the only recently appeared interception tapes was necessary, the defence said. Further, one could not talk of ensuring swift proceedings in the light of the panel interrupting the interrogation of the Crown Witness, in order to proceed with the interrogation of other witnesses, who were not able to contribute to the conviction of the accused.

The following interrogation of two witnesses to the attack on Harald Hollenberg, was an indication as to how, in the eyes of the court, the trial should proceed: the hearing of the witnesses was over in no time, and contributed no worthwhile evidence.