JUSTICE

Supreme Court rejects Social Democrat leader’s challenge to ‘Referendum’ case sentence

A panel of five judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice rejected on Monday the challenge filed by Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea to the two-year suspended sentence handed down to him in the “Referendum” case. The judges considered that the challenge is groundless.

Supreme Court’s decision is final.

Judges also decided that Liviu Dragnea must pay RON 100 in court costs.

Liviu Dragnea’s lawyers asked the court, at the last hearing, to accept the opposition to enforcement, claiming that the reasoning of the final decision in “Referendum” case wasn’t issued in 30 days since the decision was issued, and, at the time of the reasoning, the Chairman of the panel who solved the case wasn’t a judge anymore, since she retired. They stated that they don’t invoke the lack of the signature of the panel’s president, Livia Stanciu, on the reasoning, but the total absence of the judge when the decision was issued, given that she was no longer a judge in February, 2017, since she was already retired.

DNA Prosecutor asked the court to reject the opposition to enforcement for the reason that the legal requirements are not fulfilled.

In the last word, Liviu Dragnea said that he witnessed a debate that is above him, since he is an engineer, but he noted that the DNA prosecutor said that a provision of the law can be deemed as a recommendation.

“As far as I know, the reasoning should have been issued within 30 days. I don’t believe my approach was exaggerated. I was convicted for an accusation that wasn’t mentioned in the indictment. I wanted to see if this decision is the result of the participation of all the members of the panel” Dragnea said.

The opposition to enforcement submitted by the PSD President Liviu Dragnea in the “Referendum” case in which he was sentenced to two years of suspended prison, in April, 2016, was judged by the Panel consisting in five judges, according to a decision issued on March 7 by the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The file was initially submitted to the Bucharest Court, who decided on February 15 to send the case to the Supreme Court.

On April 22, 2016, Liviu Dragnea was sentenced in the “referendum” case to two years of suspended prison.

According to the indictment in the “referendum” case, Liviu Dragnea, who was, at the time of the deeds, the PSD Secretary General, on the occasion of organizing and conducting the referendum on July 29, 2012, to dismiss the former President Traian Basescu, “used his influence and authority inside the party in order to obtain undue non-patrimonial benefits of electoral nature, for the political alliance in which the party represented by the defendant was a member, namely reaching the quorum for participation using votes obtained otherwise than under the law”.

According to the prosecutors, Liviu Dragnea coordinated a complex mechanism in which he involved several persons on which he had influence due to the position he had at that time, aiming to defraud the results related to the turnout.

The panel of five judges who gave the final decision in the “Referendum” case issued the reasoning in February, 2017, stating that the sentence of two years of suspended prison applied to Liviu Dragnea is capable to provide the educational purpose and facilitate the social reinsertion of the defendant.

Judges appreciated that the sentence received by Liviu Dragnea is sufficient “to make him adopt an appropriate conduct in the future electoral campaigns”.

Livia Stanciu was also part of the five-judge Panel, being the President of the Supreme Court at the time of issuing the sentence in the “Referendum” case.

When the reasoning of the decision was issued, Livia Stanciu wasn’t activating at the Supreme Court, since she retired at the half of the last year, and since July, 2016, she is a judge at the Constitutional Court.

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