Prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) record failure after failure. Only one day after former PM Victor Ponta was acquitted by the magistrates of the Supreme Court, judges of the high Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) decided on Friday to acquit former judge of the Constitutional Court (CCR)Toni Grebla in the case in which he is accused of influence peddling, forgery and coordinating a criminal group. The magistrates’ decision is not final.
The magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and justice decided on Friday to acquit former judge of the Constitutional Court Toni Grebla for all the offenses he was accused of by the prosecutors, namely false statements in continuous form, influence peddling, coordinating a criminal group and economic actions that are incompatible with his position.
The decision of the High Court of Cassation and Justice is not final and can be appealed by the prosecutors.
At the last hearing, the DNA prosecutors requested imprisonment for the former senator and CCR judge. The lawyer of the former senator requested the removal of all the material evidence from the file, namely the interceptions, invoking the CCR decision no.22/2018, according to which everything that is illegal in the indictment must be removed from the trial. At that time, the judge rejected the request made by Toni Grebla’s lawyer, announcing that she maintains her point of view and that she will decide on the legality of the evidence when the merits will be solved in the case.
In 2015, after they made searches at his ostrich farm, DNA prosecutors accused the former judge of the Constitutional Court Toni Grebla of continuing his criminal activity and capitalizing the undue benefits obtained from committing the offense of making financial operations consisting of trade actions that are incompatible with his position, in order to get money, goods or other undue benefits for himself and for another person.
At that time, former CCR judge was detained by DNA for 24 hours.
Grebla explained at that time that prosecutors claimed that he benefited from EUR 100,000 by committing influence peddling, and the amount was invested by businessman Mihai Prundianu in the ostrich farm. IN exchange for the money, Grebla allegedly intervened in his favor at certain state institutions.
Toni Grebla: Judges are proving that they judge by evidence, not by targets established by SRI and DNA
Former judge Toni Grebla stated on Friday, after he found out about the acquittal decision issued by the first court in the case in which searches were made at the ostrich farms, that the decision indicates that the magistrates judged by evidence, not by the fact that a target was established on him.
“In my opinion, the solution was the natural one, and judges are proving more and more that they judge by the evidence in the files, by the actions committed by the people, and not by targets established on the route SRI-DNA. After 35 years of activity, I was forced to interrupt any activity because I was told not to contact anyone” Toni Grebla stated for Antena 3.
Being asked if he was a target because of the Big Brother laws on which CCR was going to decide, Grebla stated: “Coldea and others from SRI, together with DNA, felt that the Big Brother laws were very useful to them in order to make superficial executions, and they were upset about this. The effort of investing in appropriate equipment and software was more than USD 200 million, so they had to give an example to CCR, and they gave this example through me”.
The former CCR magistrate also said that what he bothered him the most was that he was forced to walk with handcuffs and that the whole case affected his family.
“Decision indicates that judges are more concerned about finding the truth than about the punishment”
He also stated that his acquittal, which comes one day after a similar decision in Victor Ponta’s case, indicates that “judges are lately more and more concerned about finding the truth than about the punishment”.
“I had nothing to do with the deeds of which I was accused. (The decision – e.n.) also shows the good thing that judges are lately more and more concerned about finding the truth than about the punishment. (…)The problem is related to how SRI and DNA understood at a certain time to discipline the entire country and create a state in the image and likeness of these two institutions. At that time when they planned to change everything in this country and create a more beautiful country. At that time, they committed many abuses, they invented deeds, in order to punish targets. They didn’t intend to establish the liability for a committed deed, but to punish people whether they were guilty or not. Now is the time when this actions performed with irresponsibility by some people sick to have power must be paid” former CCR judge Toni Grebla stated for MEDIAFAX.
Grebla also said that, although the decision is not final, it’s hard to believe that the solution in the appeal will be different than the acquittal.
“By forcing things, DNA ordered that I have to be detained for 24 hours, and then they made a home arrest proposal. Four magistrates of the High Court decided at that time that there is not even a reasonable suspicion that a criminal deed was committed, therefore no precautionary measure was taken against me. (…) Now, other three magistrates decided the same after the evidence in the case was administered in detail. It is hard to believe that new situation can be invented in order to justify a different solution in the appeal, but the appeal remedy must be very seriously considered, so that a final situation will be established” the former CCR judge added.
Codrin Stefanescu: Toni Grebla should sue those who made his case
PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated, related to the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Toni Grebla, that the former judge of the Constitutional Court should sue the prosecutors that made his case and request damages from them.
“The same question, as in Ponta’s case and in many other cases, is who and how is liable for these abuses, for this harassment, for destroying one man’s life and career, for destroying his family life, for the bad image from which he ‘benefited’ for years, because they were very important and visible persons, in very important positions. Who is accountable for all these things? But with all these questions, we will receive the same answer from Cotroceni, from Iohannis, that everything is can-can, that he is very satisfied of the activity of the institution called DNA, which is getting more and more toxic and affects the Romanian state itself more and more, and that things must continue like this. The unanimous opinion is that Mr. Toni Grebla and others, who won the cases before the court after years of harassment, should sue those who made the case and request damages to be paid from their personal assets” Codrin Stefanescu stated for MEDIAFAX.
The Social Democrat added that the media coverage in Toni Grebla’s case caused important image damages to Romania, since foreign investors started to avoid our country, and the decision of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) is a sign that judges are starting to regain their independence.
“The courts and judges are slowly get rid of the protocols made by SRI and judiciary. Judges are starting to regain their independence and realize the monstrous situation in which we have been in the last few years. In Toni Grebla’s case that was publicized also in the international press, the news were as follows: ‘a high judge of the Romanian state is accused of receiving bribe and undue benefits a promise of painting and building materials for the fence of a farm, and of selling ostriches without receipt’. I mean, it was so embarrassing for us that it couldn’t be quantified. The same as in PM Ponta’s case, as in the Tony Blair case, that damaged Romania’s image in a fabulously large extent, consisting of the decrease of the investors’ interest in investing here, the security and normality in an European country, because anyone thinks now 100 times if they should come here or not, since things are not quite all right” Stefanescu added.
Zegrean on the acquittal of his former CCR colleague: Toni Grebla is a victim in a bad period in the history of law. We suspected he is innocent
Former President of the Romanian Constitutional Court Augustin Zegrean stated on Friday that Toni Grebla is “a victim of the system”, and all the judges of the Court suspected he is innocent. Zegrean suggests the former CCR judge to sue the Romanian state and request for damages.
Former President of the Romanian Constitutional Court Augustin Zegrean thins that judge Toni Grebla who was forced to resign from CCR because he was subject to investigation, is a victim of the system and all the judges suspected that there is not much evidence against him.
“I am very glad for Mr. Toni Grebla, our former colleague. Of course, he shouldn’t go through all these things, he was a victim of the very bad period in the history of the Romanian law system. Since then, we suspected that there is not much evidence, or there is no evidence against him. Justice is made by evidence, not by words! It is bad because they destroyed his career, they destroyed a few years in his life, in which it wasn’t easy for him, and I am glad that it’s finally over” stated for MEDIAFAX Augustin Zegrean, the former CCR President since Toni Grebla was a judge of the Court.
Zegrean also says that the decision issued by the Supreme Court on Friday, which acquitted the former judge of the Constitutional Court in the case in which he was accused of influence peddling, forgery and coordinating a criminal group, is not an abnormal decision.
“This is not an abnormal acquittal decision. An acquittal decision should be a common, a normal thing. Years ago, we got used that judges issuing acquittal decisions were investigated. I mean, if you were sent to court, it was bad for you… You had no chance to be acquitted. Judges were punished and investigated if they acquitted somebody, but prosecutors who sent him to court weren’t. It was a quite long period in communism and after this, but of course things should get normal, this crazy thing should stop, because sending someone to court, someone who was a judge of the Constitutional Court, detaining him for 24 hours, to make him be afraid, is not a minor thing. Then, forcing him resign in order for you to be able to investigate him. What happened to him is not right” Augustin Zegrean added.
Former CCR President suggests Toni Grebla to sue the Romanian state and request for damages.
“Of course he can request for damages, I myself suggest him to do it, because his situation was too brutal. Normally, the prosecutor makes a proposal. Of course today’s prosecutors are not less rained than the ones from the past, when all the indictments were solved with a conviction, but of course he can make a mistake, or he may do it on purpose… God knows what was in Grebla’s case, I hope it wasn’t on purpose, but if it was a mistake, somebody must be accountable for this. There were difficult days not only for him, for his family, but also for his colleagues and for everybody. Prosecutors should be more careful before sending somebody to court, because they didn’t simply sent him to court, he was removed from his position in which he was appointed, and what happened to him is a very serious thing. He wasn’t a thief, an ordinary person, to make him go through such situations” Augustin Zegrean also stated.
Zegrean also said that there was a problem regarding the legislation, because Toni Grebla was forced to leave the Constitutional Court.
“He was picked up during his breakfast, from a restaurant. They came by car and picked him up from the restaurant. It was terrible! Prosecutors should be more careful before acting like this. There is a problem with the legislation, to, he was forced to leave the Constitutional Court. If he was left there and now he was acquitted, nothing would have happened, but he was forced to leave… I understood that meanwhile the law was changed and the judges of the Constitutional Court cannot be investigated anymore without the Court’s approval, and this is a good thing” Zegrean stated.