Posts Tagged ‘Law’

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Czech ombudsman Otakar Motejl dead at 77

In Law,Uncategorized on May 9, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

The first and so far the only person to ever hold the office of the so-called Public Defender of Rights (a.k.a. ombudsman) Otakar Motejl died on Sunday. He was 77.

Motejl was one of the most respected Czech public personalities. He assumed the office in 2000. He also was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic (1993-1998) and he held the office of the Justice Minister in the government of then-PM Milos Zeman. Prior to the Velvet Revolution he was also defense attorney in several cases where noted dissidents were on trial.

He was a heavy smoker but according to the most recent information his death (he died in a hospital) was not related to smoking and any related consequences thereof.

The Czech ombudsman is a symbol of the last resort in the Czech Republic, as hundreds of people who feel great injustice in dealings with authorities and their decisions turn to him. And since Motejl was one of the most respected personalities, the claimants felt that “they will accept whatever he would say”…

According to the iDNES.cz news server he was considered as one of the potential candidates for the office of the president of the Czech Republic (in the Czech Republic, presidents are elected by both chambers of the Parliament)…

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Wife of comatose man wanted CZK 8m, but got only CZK 4m

In Health,In The News,Law,Life,People on March 30, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

(c) Denik / Pavel Sima

Seven years ago Mr Antonin Trbola worked in an excavation pit when the soil around him collapsed and he was buried underneath it. He has been described as comatose ever since and his wife has to take care of him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He can breathe, his heart beats and his digestive system works “normally”. That’s all that is left…

The district court in the town of Hodonin, western Moravia, ruled that the employer pay four million in damages. The family wanted eight million. However, according to a statement of the family’s attorney, the family will not challenge the verdict…

In the Czech Republic, similar verdicts are usually subject to special legislation (Health Ministry regulations) that stipulate and “calculate” the value of damage to one’s health. For example, if one loses their leg in an accident, the law “says” they are entitled to CZK 180,000 ($10,000), etc. However, there have been some exceptional cases in the recent years where judges ordered the payment of damages that was not subject to the statutory regulations…

The defendant (former employee of the victim) has some time to appeal the verdict. If the family actually gets the money, they want to purchase a special wheelchair, on which they will be able to take their husband and (grand)father outside…

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Gowns will be mandatory for Czech defense counsels

In Law,Life on February 9, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

So far a suit is enough.

But quite soon thousands of Czech attorneys, defence counsels etc. will have to wear gowns in courtrooms. They will be blue and they will be mandatory in criminal proceedings or before the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court, the Aktualne.cz news server wrote.

The new regulation according to which the gowns will become mandatory was okayed by the Parliament and the Constitutional Court. The court recently dismissed a petition of a certain lawyer according to whom the “dress code” was illegal. The justices also commented that an attorney, if wearing a gown, will respect their profession and the case more – i.e. they will do their job better…

According to the news server, Czech(oslovak) defense attorneys used to wear gowns in the past: between 1904 and 1948.

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First Czech sentenced to “house arrest” to do time

In Law on February 2, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

House arrest is a new form of “sentence” in the Czech penal code. The first Czech “convict” to be sentenced to house arrest started to do time yesterday. However, his sentence is limited to curfew between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., the Blesk daily reports.

Mr. Stefan Rolnik was sentenced to one-year house arrest for battery. Furthemore, the court also ordered the man to refrain from drinking alcohol for the same period of time, as he was intoxicated during the attack.

People sentenced to house arrest will be supervised by probation officers who will make sure the convicts comply with the conditions of the sentence. In case of any violation the person must automatically go to prison. Rolnik, who has two children, was quoted by the daily as saying that he is of course happy to be with his family under the defined circumstances…

According to the daily, the inspections must be frequent since the digital bracelets are not available yet.

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Man who protected his property faces attempted murder charges

In Law on November 10, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

shotgun

(c) isifa.com

Fifteen years in prison. This is what may happen to you in the Czech Republic if you try to protect your humble property with a firearm. Mr. Karel Basta from the town of Ivancice near Brno is charged with attempted murder … for shooting at burglars in his scrap yard, the Brnensky denik daily writes.

According to the prosecuting DA, “the defendant took his rifle and shot twice at a vehicle in which [a man and a woman] were sitting, attempting to drive away. The man was shot in the thigh, and the woman was wounded in the face, which subsequently resulted in her losing one eye”.

As usual, both the Czech Penal Code and the Rules of Criminal Procedure fail to acknowledge one thing: the two had entered the man’s premises with the intention to steal his property. Basta had experienced three previous burglaries.

Basta maintains he wanted to shoot at rear wheels and that the injuries to the occupants of the vehicle were an accident. On the other hand, the DA argues that the injured woman was “calling for help”, which Basta ignored.

It is a huge disadvantage for Czechs who want to defend themselves and their property that the Czech legal system does not acknowledge the Castle Doctrine principle.

Nope, the principle that the Czech police usually stick to is “let them get away and we will find them. MAYBE”. Czech victims of burglaries often hear shocking statements from the police who come to investigate the breaking and entering: “We will document the crime, but let me tell you, there is almost no chance for us to find those who did it”.

This case (and several previous ones) clearly prove that people who grab their guns to protect their property are frustrated with the way their previous burglaries had been handled…

The injured woman testified that she didn’t even want to enter the premises. She said she had been brought to the scrap year by the man who was originally supposed to give her a ride home. Why she remained there without calling the police was not explained.

She was responsible for her actions and she will have to live with the consequences. But Karel Basta should not. If he is sent to jail, all law-abiding citizens will get the feeling that they are not protected, while the bad guys are: by short sentences and stupid court rulings like this one…

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Pointless vandalism: when idiots need to sign a wall on a train

In Law,Life on August 22, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

(c) Petr Bokuvka

(c) Petr Bokuvka

I generally hate people who commit crimes but lately I have been thinking I have more “understanding” for people who rob passengers in trams than for individuals who commit what may be qualified as misdemeanors — but totally pointless ones.

There is a difference between a graffiti “artist” and a person who steals a wallet: they might desperately need the money to buy food or illegal drugs, or to repay a loan to a loan shark. And so, often the crime is the last resort. It is illegal, but they “must” do it.

The son of a bitch who writes his tag on a train wall deserves his hand to be cut off. There is NO way to excuse or explain this behavior. It is pointless. It is a sport they do for FUN, so it is not like they can not live without it, and they do not do it to resolve some kind of life situation…

I know there is no way to fight this. These SOB’s always make sure noone is coming, they do their thing within seconds and they leave (which is the case of the writing on the left). But there ARE some Asian countries that have very strict forms of punishment for this and it does seem to work.

The worst thing is that these vandals damage private property (usually newly renovated facades of privately-owned buildings where all apartment owners had to chip in!!!). If there was a draft law according to which anyone who is caught damaging anything with graffiti tags would have their two fingers cut off, I would support it. But if the police brought the robber who stole my wallet to me to decide about the punishment, I would not insist on pressing charges if I were told that he was, let’s say, a homeless person who just needed the money.

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Cops disclosed the locations of their traffic radars. On purpose

In Cars,Law on August 12, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

I have always been a big fan of strict measures towards drivers who think they own the road or who think that the 50 kph speed limit is for everyone but them, because they “drive safely”. So I didn’t mind the police hiding in bushes and clocking cars this way, even on streets where it may seem “safe enough” to go 60 instead of just 50.

(c) Wikipedia

(c) Wikipedia

The Municipal Police of the City of Brno disclosed the locations where they placed their radars. The MP website features a map of the places and the stretches of the roads/streets are even marked by a special traffic sign.

The irony is that the streets where the Municipal Police radars are being used MUST be marked with the sign, otherwise the municipal cops would not be able to do so in the first place. So I don’t see the point. Reckless drivers will check the list of locations, they will be particularly careful there — and they will step on it once they have left the clocked location and they might cause an accident somewhere else.

The MP claims that there are many locations where the radar “might be” and so the reckless drivers who enjoy speeding in the city will pay extra attention where the police want them to pay extra attention.

A map showing (in blue) a stretch of a street where the municipal police frequently place their radars. (c) MP Brno

A map showing (in blue) a stretch of a street where the municipal police frequently place their radars. (c) MP Brno

That might be true, but on the other hand the amount of fines from “surprised” drivers is always higher than the amount collected from “prepared” drivers.

Besides, “outsmarting cops” is a favorite Czech sport which includes special services provided by radio stations that have listeners call and report road accidents and traffic jams — and police patrols. In other words, drivers like to warn one another that police patrol cars are parked at particular locations and collecting fines from drivers who do not obey speed limits.

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Research: sixty percent of Czechs support the death penalty

In Law on July 13, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

deathAccording to a recent poll that was conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre sixty percent of Czechs would support death penalty, i.e. its existence within the Czech penal code, the Prazsky denik daily wrote.

That’s six out of ten.

In other words, the number of people who oppose it has been increasing. During the early 1990′s 87 percent were for and 13 against…”Injustice” and “wrongfully accused” are the most frequent arguments. The difference between the Czech Republic and the United States is that we do not have juries here… people who are sentenced for life (a HUGE exception here) are “found guilty” by a court (usually three judges).

The last person was executed in what is now Czech Republic (i.e. the western part of the former Czechoslovakia) in February 2, 1989.

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Masaryk University: Plagiarists beware! Our new program will hunt you down

In Education & Science on June 24, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

muMasaryk Univesity in Brno has become a pioneer when it comes to fighting plagiarism. A while ago it introduced a program that can identify parts of texts that students have copied from previous works handed in at the university. Now it introduced a new web-based program called Odevzdej.cz (“Hand it in”) that goes even deeper, the iDNES.cz news server wrote.

The original program was called Theses and it could detect plagiarism in, well, theses. But the school officials found out that students cheat in minor works most often, the server wrote. However, the system will not recognize the entire Internet contents. It is impossible, MU experts say. According to TV Nova the system can check the authenticity before the assignment is handed in: students just copy their text into the system and their teachers receive an e-mail stating whether any part of the particular thesis has been “borrowed”…

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Czech Billa supermarkets sell Austrian groceries. Without Czech labels

In Economy on June 17, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , , , ,

billa1Billa is an Austrian supermarket chain owed by Rewe Group. There are more than one hundred supermarkets in the Czech Republic. And they seem to be selling groceries that are intended for the Austrian (German, Italian or Swiss…) markets – without Czech labels that define ingredients, content specification, expiry dates, etc…

Continuous-update post…
scroll down for newer ones…


T
he photo on the right is of a bottle of Rauch Ice Tea. First I was surprised to notice (as I was taking it from the shelf) that it would have a German SMS competition on the label but then I remembered that there used to be international shows and the labels displayed the instruction in multiple languages. But no, the label is entirely in German with some Italian pieces of information.

According to the Czech Consumer Protection Act products sold in the Czech Republic must have “instructions” in English. There are some rare exceptions applicable to products in case of which the use is obvious. I can imagine. Hammers, potato peelers and similar tools.

Sec. 9 of act number 634/1992 says:

The vendor is obliged to inform the customer accordingly of the characteristics of a product, its use and maintenance and risks that might arise out of improper use of the product. The vendor can not explain his failure to do so by arguing that the necessary information was not provided to the vendor by the manufacturer, supplier and the like.

And Sec. 11 of the said act says:

The vendor is obliged to make sure that the information referred to in Sec. 9, if provided in a written form, is provided in the Czech language.

Hier brauchen Sie ein Woerterbuch :)

Hier brauchen Sie ein Woerterbuch :)

Obviously there is some logistic mystery behind the Billa company. This batch was imported directly from Austria with no intermediary company involved. And naturally, the table of ingredients is, again, entirely in German – which I am sure must be a blatant violation of the law (Czech Consumer Protection Act). The “general tips for consumers” provided by the Czech Food Inspection Authority suggest the same.

Not listing the ingredients in Czech might be very dangerous. Of course, people who are allergic do not buy groceries they are unsure about, but there might be customers who assume that they understand what the label says and they may die from a specific form of “overdose” or food poisoning because they are something-intolerant.

UPDATE JUNE 18: I contacted the Czech Food Inspection Authority regarding the potential violation of the Consumer Protection Act. They have fifteen days to “investigate” and let me know… I am thinking of doing a guest-writer article for this weekly news-magazine that I have had professional contacts with…

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