The Harju County Court has satisfied an application by the North District Prosecutor’s Office to terminate the criminal case of Mary Kross, wife of MP Eerik-Niiles Kross, because even though it has been shown that she lied, the court and the prosecution find there is no public interest to pursue the matter.
Kross told the police on numerous occasions that unknown men wearing arms of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) threw rocks at her, hitting her in the back and head in a park near the Stroomi Beach in Tallinn on November 27 of last year. Kross also claimed the men threw rocks at her dog, hitting the animal in the face. The ensuing criminal investigation determined that nothing of the sort took place and Mary Kross wasn’t even in Tallinn at the time of the alleged assault. Charges were sent to court in June.
The court satisfied the prosecution’s application to terminate criminal proceedings because her offense was not serious and had no victim and because there is no public interest in continued proceedings. The prosecution said that while there is public interest in the person of Mary Kross, there is none in the crime. Kross was ordered to pay €3,000 into state revenues inside six months. Failure to do so would see the case reopened and processed in general procedure. The decision cannot be appealed.
EKRE chair Mart Helme said at yesterday’s government press conference that the prosecution’s application is absurd and two-faced. “It was a clear-cut case of lying, and politicians’ lies cannot be worse than falsehoods presented by public figures. It is an embarrassing incident and one that does not paint our justice system in a good light,” Helme said. Former justice minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu also found the application peculiar, while adding that public interest is not a category of curiosity.
District prosecutor Ülle Jaanhold said the prosecution moved for termination of proceedings because the prosecution’s evaluation is based on the person and the false statements in question, not the extent of media coverage. “We considered the fact Kross’ statements were of a general nature and not aimed at specific people whom they could have inconvenienced. We also considered that Mary Kross has no prior punishments and has expressed regret. That is why the prosecution concluded that Mary Kross has understood what she did and hopes that she will follow the law in the future even if she is not punished for a criminal offense,” Jaanhold explained.
The case was terminated based on lack of public interest to prosecute, and Kross is not expected to officially plead guilty. It does mean, however, that she must admit wrongdoing and a crime has taken place. Because most deals with the prosecution are made outside of court, Kross was initially offered the chance but did not react to it. The prosecution eventually sent the case to court, which is when Kross decided to cut a deal.
Leading prosecutor Kristen Toming said the aim of criminal proceedings is not to punish criminals but to make sure persons follow the law in the future. She added that possible consequences of false statements are also weighed. Lying about a very serious crime would cause the police to react in force, wasting resources that could have been used to help real victims.
“This time, the lie concerned an incident that had allegedly taken place in the past that did not require use of serious resources, and no specific persons were accused of having committed a crime. That is why the prosecution deemed it possible to move for termination to which the court agreed,” the senior prosecutor said.