Gertrude Brinek, the people’s advocate/ombudsman, has come out to criticise the state prosector for sentencing an African man without substantial evidence.
On November 5th this year, the 29 year old Nigerian was acquitted of a crime he shouldn’t have been charged with in the first place, according to the Bregenz lawyer, Stefan Harg and the State Ombudsman, Gertrude Brinek. The man had been charged with attempted burglary of parked cars in Bregenz. According to the man’s defence lawyer, the prosecution was “senseless and baseless” and a “racist persecution” by the state prosecutor.
Ombudsman Brinek writes: “From the perspective of the Ombudsman, the Public Prosecutor Feldkirch didn’t do his due diligence in the clarification of the facts and presented results of the investigation on 3.8.2012 which weren’t substantial”.
The State persecutor charged the man based on the narration of two 14 year old witnesses despite the forensics confirming there was no DNA of the man on the car they claimed he’d broken into. The two 14 year olds claimed they had seen the accused trying to break into parked cars on the Kirchstraße in Bregenz. The accused explained that he was actually placing business cards on the windows of the cars requesting to buy the cars to later ship to and sell in Nigeria.
The head of the Police in Bregenz got the impression that “the accused obviously was able to explain his actions.” A fact the prosecutor left “unnoticed”. The Ombudsperson notes. “From the perspective of the Ombudsman, therefore, the complaint was brought in without sufficient clarification of the facts.”
For the Justice Department, however, the indictment was “obvious”. The ministry has forwarded the case to the Oberlandesgericht Innsbruck for supervisory review, according to Harg, who had complained to the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman about the matter.
The Ombudsman announced, “the case will be taken to the National Council and the Federal Council in an anonymous form in the next progress report.” in the next progress report.”