Czech court rules that complaint against expert witness's alleged Jewishness is irrelevant
A court in Most has rejected a complaint filed by attorney Petr Kočí alleging bias in the work of expert witness Michal Mazel because his supposed Jewish origin meant he could not objectively evaluate the case of Lucie Šlégrová, a member of the ultra-right extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). The chair of the court's criminal division, Bohumila Huňáčková, has told the Czech Press Agency that the objection is simply irrelevant.
Šlégrová is on trial for giving a speech in 2010 at a demonstration in Litvínov in which she defended National Socialism. Mazel evaluated her speech as promoting anti-Semitism and Nazism, but Kočí objected, claiming the expert witness was biased because he is Jewish. Šlégrová had inferred the expert witness's alleged Jewish origin from his name. "That surname, which often is also seen in the variant form of Maazel, comes from the Hebrew name Moshe, which means Moses," Šlégrová said. In addition, her attorney also cast doubt on Mazel's work in a separate criminal case by alleging he had been overcompensated.
The court has rejected both complaints. "The second case concerning the alleged bias is completely irrelevant, but we don't want to comment on it further," Huňáčková told the Czech Press Agency. She did grant that the very construction of a complaint alleging that a person's Jewish origin could prevent his or her objective evaluation of extremism was dubious from the very start.
At the start of January, Mazel told the media that he plans to end his work as an expert witness, mainly because of constant attacks against him by right-wing radicals. Kočí's objection to Mazel has become a public scandal. Pavel Rychetský, the chair of the Czech Constitutional Court, sharply criticized it in the media. On the other hand, Pavel Hasenkopf, an adviser to Czech President Václav Klaus, publicly stood up for Kočí.
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