Thursday, 24 April 2014

Former police chief Lessy acquitted of charges

17 May 2013

Prague, May 16 (CTK) - A Prague court Thursday acquitted former Czech police president Petr Lessy of libel and abuse of power charges for allegedly letting leak documents offending a senior police official to media.

The verdict has not taken effect as the prosecutor appealed it on the spot.

Lessy is suspected of having handed documents referring to the Zlin regional police deputy head Jaroslav Vanek to his spokeswoman in September 2011 when he was police president.

He also told Pravo daily that an alleged member of a criminal gang working at the police inspection, Rudolf Setvak, swept complaints against Vanek under the carpet.

Lessy pleads innocent.

He claims that his prosecution was used as the only way to dismiss him as police president.

Lessy and Interior Minister Jan Kubice (unaffiliated) were locked in a number of disputes and Kubice repeatedly asked him to resign. Kubice sacked Lessy last summer, immediately after the charges were brought against him.

Lessy was replaced by Martin Cervicek in the post.

Shadow interior minister Jeronym Tejc (Social Democrats, CSSD) called on Kubice to leave the cabinet.

Tejc recalled that Kubice said last year he would resign as minister if it turned out that Lessy's prosecution was expedient.

"It seems clear that this has been proved," Tejc said, indicating that the acquittal shows that criminal prosecution was simply a way of getting rid of Lessy.

Prosecutor Michal Muravsky proposed that Lessy receive a suspended sentence and is not allowed to work with the police for four years.

He declared that Lessy clearly wanted to harm Vanek with whom he had both professional and personal disputes.

Judge Roman Podlesak concluded that the abuse of power charges are groundless because it cannot be proved that Lessy is behind the leak of the document.

Podlesak said Lessy as police president should not critically speak of Vanek in an interview with a journalist. He said Lessy acted inappropriately but did not commit libel.

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