Court orders medical examination for Edgar Savisaar

Edgar Savisaar.

PHOTO: Eero Vabamägi / Postimees

The Tallinn-based Harju County court on Tuesday issued an order for Edgar Savisaar, defendant in a graft trial as part of which he has been excluded from the office of mayor of Tallinn, to undergo a forensic medical committee examination.

Experts need to determine whether Savisaar suffers from an irreparable serious illness and if so, whether he is able to take part in criminal proceedings and serve the sentence, spokespeople for the courts told BNS.

Oliver Naas, the lawyer representing Savisaar, applied on March 21 for the court to end the proceedings concerning Savisaar due to the latter's bad health and inability to take part in the court proceedings nor serve the sentence. Naas also submitted to the court Savisaar's medical records and evaluations given by four doctors.

The court found that even though experts have given their opinions that court proceedings may cause a great risk to Savisaar's health, some of those opinions are speculative. Assumptions that court proceedings may bring forth high risks to the health of the accused are not sufficient evidence for the court to end the proceedings. It is obvious that the health condition of the accused may change during court proceedings as the process can be stressful and tiring, but this does not automatically mean that the accused is unable to take part in the proceedings, spokespeople said.

As Savisaar has been diagnosed with various illnesses and physical disability, the court believes that ordering a committee examination for Savisaar is justified. According to law, the examination will be carried out by experts from the Estonian Forensic Science Institute (EKEI).

Court agreed to two of the three questions posed for the experts by the attorney for the defense. The attorney wanted to ask how can taking part in long-term court proceedings, including actively defending himself at court hearings influence Savisaar's medical condition. According to the court, this question is not relevant and would require a hypothetical answer from the experts, which the court cannot use when determining if there are circumstances that would preclude proceedings.

EKEI must inform the court as soon as possible of the expert's report's approximate time of completion.

According to law, court proceedings are precluded in case the defendant suffers from an irreparable serious illness and is therefore unable to take part in the court proceedings and serve the sentence.

The court ruling made on Tuesday is not contestable, spokespeople added.

This Thursday, the court will announce another regulation which will include either prosecution and processing the applications made by both parties of the proceedings or returning the statement of charges to the prosecutor's office. No preliminary court hearing will take place on April 13. The court will inform the public of the contents of the regulation in a press release.

The Office of the Prosecutor General has brought charges against Savisaar for accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement, and accepting prohibited donation for the Center Party. The same charges have been lodged against Alexander Kofkin, Vello Kunman, Villu Reiljan, Hillar Teder, Kalev Kallo, Aivar Tuulberg, Priit Kutser and the Center Party.