Czech gunman who fired warning shots over Romani children at summer camp has his sentence reduced to a fine
News server iDNES.cz reported on 3 May that the man who fired a gas pistol near children from the Romani choral ensemble Čhavorenge, led by Ida Kelarová, when they were attending a summer camp in Jiřetín pod Jedlovou, and who also shouted vulgar abuse at the adults involved with the camp, has had his sentence reduced to a fine of CZK 7 000 [EUR 270] by the appeals panel of the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem. The first-instance verdict had given him a suspended prison sentence for rioting.
"There is no doubt that the defendant committed gross indecency in a publicly accessible place. Nevertheless, the punishment of deprivation of liberty has been found by the appeals court to be disproportionately strict given the fact that this was the first serious excess ever committed by the defendant in his entire life," Judge Radek Šnajdr said of the first-instance verdict, which had required the perpetrator to spend half a year in prison, conditionally suspended for one year.
If the perpetrator, Martin Kout, fails to pay the fine, he will spend a month in prison. The punishment just concerns his verbal assault on the children, in which he allegedly shouted "Fucking gypsies, fuck off!"
Kout claims that is not what he said, testifying that he chastised the children as they were passing by his property by saying "Can't you be more quiet, for fuck's sake?" Shortly after those remarks, the firing of his gas pistol was heard, which Kout alleges was accidental.
The court called that explanation unbelievable and purely tendentious. Kout is also guilty of having fired the pistol into the air three times two days later and then entering the recreation area, where he vulgarly abused an adult organizer of the camp.
The first-instance court in Děčín called that part of his behavior a misdemeanor. The local municipality, where the case has been delivered, has yet to make a decision about it.
Ida Kelarová has also complained about police inaction in association with the first incident, as officers never visited the scene of the first shooting after it was reported and made light of the entire matter. The Romani children who were targeted by the abuse all wrote a letter on the occasion of International Roma Day 2018 to both the Czech Police and to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš asking the police to apologize to them.
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