Austrian Judge Finds Police Unit Guilty


Austrian Animal Protection Trial: Judge finds police special unit guilty of denying defence access to investigation files

Soon after the defendants in this monster trial were put onto remand custody in May 2008 it became clear that police were not allowing lawyers access to investigation files. The defence quickly responded by bringing the police to court and judge Pablik passed the verdict that the withholding of investigative information showed the intention to keep the defendants in the dark and contravened rights set out in the constitution. Police were instructed by the court to provide the defence with immediate and complete access to files in order to ensure a fair trial.

Police however, resisted this verdict, continuing to refuse access and ignoring the court's decision. Judge Pablik was removed from the case and the newly appointed judge did nothing and then went on maternity leave. The case was then passed to a third judge and on 14th October, over two years later, this new judge passed the verdict that the police are guilty of violating the defendants' rights to have access to the files against them. Police now respond by saying that the special unit has been dissolved and there are no remaining files to give defendants access to!


Update on Austrian Trial- 12/10/10

Press conference: Rejected self indictments not only prove that defendants were chosen randomly to stand trial, but also that the case has no substance

Mag. Stefan Traxler, lawyer in the animal protection trial, DDr. Martin Balluch, main defendant, Eleonora Stanzel, self indictment 278a

Four years of investigating, eight months in court - with no end in sight. From the one hundred and twenty witnesses for the prosecution, 35 have still to be heard and the defence has called up to three hundred witnesses to testify. The charge: Through legal means of protest, the accused have indirectly motivated persons unknown to them to commit animal rights related crimes. This claim could be used to describe a vast number of people for whom animal protection is a concern.

Earlier this year, in a spectacular show of solidarity, three hundred individuals made self indictments to the Austrian state prosecution detailing how they too carry out the same activities as those accused and as a result must also be considered suspects of belonging to a criminal organisation. The state prosecution rejected these self indictments stating in their reply that the indictments contained no prosecutable activities.

A subsequent step has been for three of the people to make renewed self indictments concentrating on the detailed accusations against two of the defendants. A press conference on 12th October 2010 explained to media how renewed self indictments of two activists mirror exactly the prosecutorial indictments against two of the defendants, proving that the accusations are not restricted to those standing trial. Rejection of these renewed self indictments by state prosecution will further demonstrate the randomness with which the accused were chosen for prosecution.


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© Keith Mann