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Právo: lawyer defends his clients’ violence by Romani origin

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Prague, April 13 (CTK) – A Czech lawyer has defended a violent behaviour of his clients, charged with a brutal attack on their neighbour, in a quiet original manner pointing to specific features of their Romany ethnic origin, daily Pravo writes yesterday.
The Romanies, Roman Kotlar and his son Roman Kudrik, assaulted their 36-year-old neighbour outside his house in the summer of 2014. They beat him up with a rod and threatening with a machete. The man suffered multiple injuries, including an eye injury that might have permanent consequences, Pravo says.
On Tuesday, the Brno Regional Hospital upheld the three-year prison sentence imposed on Kudrik and a suspended sentence on Kotlar.
Their defence lawyer Oldrich Sevcik tried to argue with their Romany origin as an extenuating circumstance in his defence speech.
“The court has not taken a specific character of the Romany ethnic group into consideration. They look at things from a different perspective than the majority. Their position in society is not easy. On the other hand, they have a heart of gold, they would give their last penny to a poor fellow in the street,” Sevcik told the court.
He also pointed out that Kotlar was an illiterate simpleton with a low IQ who had been deprived of legal capacity in Slovakia in 1995 and was not able to live on his own.
“He feels really sorry for the whole affair and is praying for his neighbour,” Sevcik also said.
However, the court concluded that even though Kotlar was deprived of legal capacity, he could understand the unlawful character of his behaviour.
Kotlar and his son, who are unemployed, did not agree with the verdict thought the sentence was quite low. Originally, they faced up to ten years in prison, Pravo writes.
None of the defendants appeared in court during the appeals proceedings.
Kudrik has been at large since last autumn when a lower-level court gave him a prison sentence. He is probably hiding in a Romany shanty town in Slovakia. The police have been searching for him in vain so far, Pravo writes.

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