Latvian Themis is about to break a record: the case is being tried at the court of first instance for eight years already.
Criminal case on car arson of director of Customs Criminal Board, deputy director general of State Revenue Service Vladimir Vashkevich and theft of documents from entrepreneur Inara Vilkaste, is being tried at the court of first instance for almost eight years already. It is still not considered. 160 court hearings were scheduled during this period and only 127 of them were really held. Representative of victims, Ivars Pukitis, believes that the accused are dragging out the trial with malicious intent using different tricks, including groundless sick leave certificates.
Both persons accused in this headline-making case have quite extensive criminal biography. Edgar Gulbis is a former employee of State President and Saeima Security Service and is an expert in explosives, he also has a previous conviction. R.Shtalbergs is also famous for his criminal background.
Public prosecutor believes that Vashkevich’s car arson was organized by R.Shtalbergs assisted by E.Gulbis.
Shtalbergs is also being accused for theft of information containing commercial secrets.
Former officer E.Gulbis is also being accused for an attempt to falsify criminal case file. After becoming aware of that a 400 gram TNT briquette was found in his private office, Gulbis decided to commit unlawful acts – to send a self-made lamp wax mock-up looking like TNT briquette. Gulbis failed to fulfill his criminal intent because expert was of fair practice and denied to replace material evidence. Gulbis is being accused also for instigating to affect an expert to make fallacy.
Criminal procedure started at July 1, 2008 is lasting for eighth year already.
Despite the counteractions by accused persons, court investigation in this case was finished during these eight years. The court gave an opportunity for participants to prepare for debates and nominated scheduled hearings after coordination with all the participants of procedure. For public prosecution and victims, V.Vashkevich and I.Vilkaste, court hearings were nominated to be held on November 12 and November 13, 2015.
“Unfortunately, both of these court hearings were canceled because of another illness of the accused, Edgar Gulbis, who submitted a sick leave certificate. After looking through Court information system and trial records, one can conclude that it is not a first time when court hearing are being cancelled or postponed because of Gulbis’ illnesses; this fact allows to make an assumption that the trial is being dragged out exactly because of malicious intent of the accused who are using their procedural rights dishonestly,” – lawyer Ivars Pukitis believes.
The lawyer appeals to the court to request “the findings by Health Inspectorate regarding the validity of sick leave certificate, which was issued to Edgar Gulbis.”
SHEDULED HEARING, WHICH WAS SCHEDULED TO BE HELD ON 30.11.2015, WAS ALSO ADJOURNED FOR THE SAME REASON – ILLNESS OF E.GULBIS.br>