Czech Supreme Court says "machete attack" was attempted murder
The Czech Supreme Court (Nejvyšší soud - NS) has confirmed that the "machete attack" committed in the town of Nový Bor was attempted murder and that the perpetrators conspired to commit the attack in full awareness of its possible outcome. The court rejected the appeal of the four men convicted of the crime, who are serving sentences ranging from five to 17.5 years in prison.
The NS made its decision at the end of 2014 without a public hearing, and its verdict became available in the court's database today. During incident in August 2011, Romani assailants injured three non-Romani men in a bar.
The attack sparked several anti-Romani demonstrations in northern Bohemia. The appeal was filed by the leader of the small group, Vojtěch Husák, whose sentence remains unchanged, and by Antonín Sinu and Jakub Žiga, whose sentences were raised to 15 years in prison by the NS.
The fourth member of the appeal is a juvenile whose original sentence was five years in prison. All of them objected to the legal qualification of the crime as one of attempted murder.
The perpetrators claim there was never any agreement reached among them to go to the bar in order to commit murder. They also questioned several specific pieces of evidence.
Lastly, they argued that their sentencing was disproportionately lengthy and that the legal qualification of their charges had been established in response to media demand. The NS, however, said the attack on the customers in the bar was actually a case of attempted murder which the assailants perpetrated in response to a previous, smaller conflict there.
The perpetrators ran into the bar armed with blade weapons, sticks and truncheons and immediately began brutally and insidiously attacking people, frequently aiming their blows at people's heads and organs crucial to sustaining life, the NS stated in its verdict. The assailants are said to have proceeded in a coordinated fashion and none of them showed any interest in the fates of those they injured.
"None of them ever deviated from their joint behavior, none of them provided the victims with any assistance, and they left together without taking any interest in the situation of those they harmed, clearly showing their satisfaction with their 'action'," reads the verdict from presiding Judge Věra Kůrková. Those convicted still have the option of appealing to the Constitutional Court.
Any such appeal would have to include an argument that their fundamental rights have somehow been violated. The assailants in the 2011 incident were taking revenge for a previous conflict between a barmaid and two Romani youths who had gone to the bar to play video poker.
The youths had won several hundred crowns and wanted to collect their winnings, but the barmaid asked them to show their identification and the youths began to shout vulgar insults at her. Other customers then stood up for the barmaid and removed the pair from the premises, with one guest also striking one of the boys.
The Roma youths are said to have returned to the bar shortly thereafter with reinforcements, attacking the customers without warning using a machete, metal rods, and by kicking and punching them. One of the injured men had to have part of his skull replaced with a platinum plate.
The other victims experienced concussion and contusions. The case of a fifth juvenile assailant involved is being tried separately.
Last February the Regional Court in Liberec sentenced the fifth assailant to 4.5 years in prison for attempted murder. Given his age at the time of the crime he had faced a maximum of five years.
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