Czech prosecutor to review police procedure in case of Romani man who died in pizzeria
The regional-level Office of the State Prosecutor will be reviewing the case of 26-year-old Miroslav Demeter, Jr., who died on 18 October 2016 at the Panamera Pizzeria in the Czech town of Žatec. The father of the deceased has informed news server Romea.cz of the development.
The case was closed by police with the finding that the young man died as a consequence of drug use, not as a result of any third-party intervention. The district-level Office of the State Prosecutor in Louny has approved of the police procedure in the case.
On the basis of eyewitness testimonies and various video recordings of the circumstances of the death, the family of the deceased has refused to accept the police conclusions and has filed a complaint with the supervising regional-level prosecutor. That office now wants to review the police investigation.
"We are terribly glad that our son's case will be reviewed. We had all but stopped hoping for it, but it's brilliant news," Miroslav Demeter, Sr., the father of the deceased, told news server Romea.cz.
"We learned that the police had transferred the file to the Regional State Prosecutor last week when we visited the police in Ústí nad Labem," Mr Demeter, Sr. said. JUDr. Michal Pacovský, the family's attorney, had compiled a detailed complaint and submitted it.
"We believe police proceeded incorrectly and that their investigation was neither exhaustive nor well-conducted," Pacovský previously told news server Romea.cz. According to him, the way the police conducted the investigation and went about discovering clues as to what happened was flawed.
For example, the police spent the first 14 days of their investigation focusing just on what the deceased had done prior to his death and what his movements about town had been. Their interrogation of eyewitnesses at the scene of his death, and their investigation of what happened immediately before his death and subsequent to it, was not begun until after those two weeks, the family's attorney has informed news server Romea.cz.
"We would have reviewed this matter even if the submission had not been justified in such detail. We consider the motion from the attorney for the father of the damaged party one that requires addressing," Jan Jakovec, the regional head of the state prosecutor's office, told news server Lidovky.cz.
The case file was taken over by the regional office on 13 March and their assessment will be released within two months. Theoretically the regional-level prosecutors could instruct that the case be re-opened.
Police shelved the case after concluding no crime had been committed and reporting that there was no evidence that the death had been caused by a third party. News server Romea.cz learned of the conclusion from a police report more than 40 pages long summarizing information from the expert assessments and detailed testimonies of the eyewitnesses, as well as descriptions of the video footage available to detectives.
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