First Day of my Case Claiming Compensation from the Animal Rights Trial

Translated from Martin Balluch’s blog: http://www.martinballuch.com/erster-tag-meines-schadensersatzprozesses-zur-tierschutzcausa/

Three lawyers sit on the other side. One representing the Republic of Austria and the other two representing the bosses of the police special operations unit from the animal rights trial.

The judge says that first of all it must be clarified whether the period in which it is possible to claim for compensation has expired, as argued by the Republic. This is what she intends to deal with today. Then, without further court dates, she will give a verdict, maybe in September. This verdict can be appealed up to the level of the Supreme Court. So, nothing will happen for one year (!), and that’s if the case is accepted. If the case isn’t accepted I will have to pay €60,000 (!) for today’s court date to add to my existing debts from the animal rights trial. This sum is the costs for all the lawyers and the judge. This monstrous amount of money is on account of the high sum being claimed.

How can my claim for compensation be expired? The time limit to officially file for damages is three years. The first time we got hold of the infiltration reports was on 2nd December 2010. It was only then that we realised just how exonerating they were. On 2nd May 2011 I was acquitted. It was only at this point that damages were incurred. Without an acquittal it is not possible to make a claim for damages. My acquittal became final on 1st July 2012. I started legal proceedings at the beginning of April 2013.

The Republic says we should have had the infiltrator’s reports from the police before. Of course, we had tried to get them, but we had to employ a private detective to uncover the presence of “Danielle Durand” the infiltraor. Month after month and year after year I tried again and again to get access to the case files from the police. Time and time again I was turned down and given excuses for why it wasn’t possible. Three times I brought the police special unit to court over this and three times they lost. The verdict each time being that they must grant me access. And despite all this, they still didn’t manage to.

Nevertheless, the Republic remains insistent that it’s my own fault and now it’s too late to claim for damages.

According to the Republic, I should have filed a claim for damages during the criminal trial against me. But, what would that have meant? Firstly, the damages were not a given at that time. Secondly, in a civil case I would have been obliged to answer all questions truthful, but in a criminal case I have rights which make it possible for me as a defendant to lie or avoid questioning. So it is not possible from a criminal law point of view to be party in a civil and criminal case dealing with the same issue simultaneously without losing rights as a defendant.

Thirdly, how should I have brought charges without having seen the infiltrator’s reports and without being aware that the special unit would use the trick of withholding them because they were exonerating evidence?

Now we can only wait for a verdict and should the green light come, start the case. This is a saga with out end!

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