Unauthorised disclosure of the criminal case documentation prior to proceeding
The defender of Alexander Kofkin, attorney-at-law Aivar Pilv found it necessary to draw the attention of the Estonian daily Postimees and media in general to the main principles of court proceeding and administration of justice that cannot be ignored, relating to the thorough overview on the evidences gathered in the criminal case of former Mayor of Tallinn, Edgar Savisaar etc. published by Postimees on 6 December 2016.
In his statement, Aivar Pilv emphasised the following:
„I am turning to you as the defender of A. Kofkin in this (so-called E. Savisaar’s) criminal case with regard to the extensive and detailed overview on the evidences (facts and circumstances, including the evidences gathered with surveillance activities) disclosed on 6 December 2016 in Postimees.
Although I understand the interest and desire of the publisher, journalists to cover the materials of the criminal case with remarkable publicity, I find it necessary to draw your attention to the related intensive violation of fundamental rights of individuals, violation of the right to protection and influencing of administration of justice (regardless of the repeatedly heard justifications that the journalism is lacking any influence on the administration of justice).
Unfortunately this is not the first case in Estonia where, in a criminal proceeding with significant public interest, media is publishing detailed evidences and facts gathered during the pre-trial proceeding already prior to the substantive discussion in court. I find it to be contrary to the principles of the right to be heard, the prohibition to disclose information that has become known during the proceeding, the right to defense and the presumption of innocence of the person, etc. Obviously by disclosing the documentation of criminal case in such manner (which may be very interesting and challenging for journalists and thrilling for readers), public opinion is shaped already prior to the substantive discussion of the case at the court proceeding. Basically it is a situation where through media anybody has an access to the evidences and facts before they have been filed to court for supervision and acceptance, and according debates. With regard to this extremely regrettable and, based on several previous cases, nowadays almost common practice, as the defender of my client and an attorney-at-law I am obliged to underline that such disclosure of evidences and facts prior to the beginning of court proceeding can neither be justified by the freedom of speech and of press.“
See also the comments of Aivar Pilv in the news of Estonian channel TV3.
Read more from ERR news.
Listen to the interview with Aivar Pilv in radio Kuku.