As we have previously warned, there has been a dangerous practice in the media to comment on criminal proceedings at the investigation stage, and some information from prosecutors’ and court hearings through the so-called “close investigation”, which leads to the violation of the presumption of innocence of clients, that is, that individuals are convicted, and that an indictment against them has not been filed.
The media and the public have the right to be informed, but they must understand that only the court can convict somebody for a criminal offense and determine its guilt, which is pronounced under the old legal rule “on behalf of the people”. Today, we come to the situation in which, with the help of vague and submissive interpretations of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, the court can order detention for public harassment, while not giving any clear qualification what the harassment should be and how much the public has to be upset to make this detention the bases existed. The Supreme Court of Cassation, by the latest practice, found that the court, when using this detention ground, must clearly define the public’s disturbance, however, this decision of the Supreme Court of Cassation only formally influenced judges to explain its decisions in part, but systematically failed to solve the problem of arbitrary detention.
What Brun Vekaric remarked during a public hearing on the Criminal Procedure Code when he warned that the notion of harassment of the public as the legal basis for the detention order does not exist anywhere in Europe and that it is very dangerous, one official of the Ministry of Justice replied, “that suits you “so why do you complain, because you” can always upset the public “, again referring to the fact that a lot of” sources of investigation “can deprive someone of the freedom in that way, give information to the media protecting their sources even though it is a criminal offense and send someone to the custody of someone by the rules of the procedure.
This was exactly what happened with the client of our law office in the already famous “poisoning in Smederevo” case when a couple of individuals, clients, agricultural and advisory services in Kolar was poisoned with pesticides, and somehow a “close investigation” continuously provided information from the investigation to the public the media passed every law and directly blamed our client that she did this undoubtedly, although there is no evidence of this. Such reporting is contrary to the Media Law which explicitly establishes that the media can publish information related to criminal proceedings only after confirming the indictment and on the basis of data of public importance collected in accordance with the same law. Recall to this day, an indictment has not been filed against our client! The suspects are suffering great damage not only in this procedure, but also in many other procedures, which leaves room for law enforcement, as well as the use of the court and the prosecution for illegal actions against citizens and opponents.
Human freedom must be inviolable and restricted only in cases where this is absolutely necessary in order to protect the freedom of others, and the law and practice must not give the possibility of a broad interpretation of these provisions, thereby bringing the citizens into a situation where the media eager to exclusively protect themselves from prosecution and responsibility, can be a means of deprivation of their right to liberty and a fair trial established by the RS Constitution and the oldest international conventions.