The odious affair of Janez Janša slandering two female journalists finally reached some sort of conclusion yesterday. Only days before leaving office, the outgoing PM was sentenced to a three-months suspended prison sentence. But it looked right up to the fucking end he will get away with labeling Eugenija Carl and Mojca Šetinc Pašek as prostitutes.
Namely, the story of Marshal Twito verbally assaulting the then-duo of journalists (Šetinc Pašek was since elected MP) is, in fact, two interwoven stories. On one hand, it is the tale of Janša’s self-described war on the media, that has earned him a lot of bad press. But at the same time, it is also a tale of Janša’s legal subterfuge and general disregard for the judicial system. The same judicial system he so frequently rails against as being out to get him.
The parliament in Muddy Hollows will likely appoint Robert Golob PM-elect later today. This means that the Glorious Leader, now proudly leading the largest opposition party, has only about ten days or so left in the big chair. And he almost made it without getting busted. Almost.
It all started way back in 2016 when Janša sent out the offending tweet. In it he labeled RTVSLO journalists Eugenija Carl and Mojca Šetinc Pašek as prostitutes in employ of “Pimp Milan”. The latter was obviously a reference to ex-president Milan Kučan, while the former was at the time the latest in a long line of insults hurled at journalists and the media alike.
From the get-go, Janša and his lawyer attempted to run the clock on the matter. Disputing the impartiality of the Ljubljana court (the trial was moved to Celje). Stalling the proceedings in any way possible. Failing to appear in court without an excuse. And, Janša’s favourite and most notorious trick, avoiding summons and other court-related registered mail. Like, literally avoiding mailmen and other couriers.
And when he got back into the PM office in March 2020, his “unavoidable PM duties” and trips abroad clashed with his court dates, known far in advance, suspiciously often. Of course, it was all designed to have the statute of limitations expire before the Higher Court ruled on the appeal.
Three months, suspended
And he almost did it. In fact, almost everyone expected Janša to avoid the confirmation of the guilty verdict, by – wait for it – avoiding the private investigator hired to locate Janša and serve him with the court summons.
In the end, however, his lawyer stated to the court that his client is aware of the summons, allowing the ruling to be handed down mere hours before the statue of limitations would have indeed expired.
As a result, a sitting Slovenian PM is now convicted to a three-months suspended prison sentence with a one-year probation period. Which has got to be some kind of a record.
You see, in any self-respecting country things like these would have caused the prime minister to get the fuck out of office long ago. At the very least, a normal prime minister would have deleted the tweet and apologised.
In fact, a normal prime minister would have never tweeted such stupid shit in the first place. Even if he wasn’t prime minister at the time. And this fucking guy was prime minister twice before.
It’s all a conspiracy. Again.
Instead, Janša did what Janša does best. He doubled down on his anti-media conspiracy theories, misogyny and claims that the entire judicial system is out to get him and that in any event, this is all part of the Deep State operation to eliminate him politically. Twisted shit. The guy went off the deep end long ago.
This, of course, does not mean that the newly-minted leader of the opposition has run out of recourse. Or that there is no scenario under which the guilty verdict is overturned one way or another.
For example, in addition to criminal charges of slander, Pašek Šetinc and Carl also filed civil lawsuits against Janša. Both had won compensatory damages, but Janša appealed the ruling in both cases and got one of the two rulings dismissed. Even though they were both essentially the same case. But hey, such is life.
No punitive damages
On a sidenote, Slovenian legislation still allows for criminal charges of slander. From what pengovsky understands, thisis mostly because civil law does not allow for punitive damages, just actual monetary compensation. Which is why both journalists could ultimately sue for no more than 6000 EUR in damages, but were ultimately able to prove charges of slander.
At any rate, Janša can still try to have the guilty verdict overturned at the Supreme Court. His lawyer already indicated that an appeal is forthcoming.. And if the Supreme Court does not see it his way, he will probably try his luck at the Constitutional Court. It worked once before. And that time around, the clock did run out and statute of limitations did expire.
But until that comes to pass (if it does at all), the outgoing Slovenian PM has just been found guilty in a criminal matter. Which goes a long way in explaining why the change at the top in Muddy Hollows is as much a matter of policy as it is of simple political hygiene.