Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

New turn in the al Thani case – but again on track to start on April 11th – but not quite (updated)

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Just as the defense team for those indicted in the al Thani case – Kaupthing’s second largest shareholder Olafur Olafsson and managers Sigurdur Einarsson, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson and Magnus Gudmundsson – had exhausted all means of getting the case thrown out of court or suspended, the defense lawyers for Einarsson and Olafsson, Gestur Jonsson and Ragnar Hall, have resigned from the case. They claim that the defendants are not getting a fair trial and criticise the investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor and how the County Court and the Supreme Court have handled their case.

Bjorn Thorvaldsson, who represents the OSP, says to Ruv that the move by the defense lawyers came as a great surprise. The two lawyers tried five different ways to have the case thrown out or suspended, all five times taking the case to the Supreme Court. In the last case, for suspension, ruled on the the Supreme Court only last week, the Supreme Court reprimanded the two lawyers in its ruling for bringing a needless case to the Court.

However, only a few hours after the two lawyers handed in their letter (in Icelandic) to the Country Court, the judge in the coming case, Petur Gudgeirsson, refused to acknowledged their resignation. The oral hearings are planned to run for eight days. Ca. 50 people are being called to give witness. Now that the latest attempt by the defense lawyers to suspend the case it seems that the oral hearings will start, as planned, on Thursday.

*Updated: In spite of the judge having refused to acknowledge the lawyers’ resignation the two defense lawyers have reiterated their intention. No one seems to know what the legal situation is here. The lawyers can hardly be pushed against their will to defend their two clients. It means that the case is now in jeopardy and might be postponed until next autumn. 

*A link to earlier Icelogs on the al Thani case.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

April 8th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Iceland

4 Responses to 'New turn in the al Thani case – but again on track to start on April 11th – but not quite (updated)'

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  1. It looks as if the Judge is being manipulated by the lawyers in the same way as the Banksters and crooks manipulate their victims?

    Surely these lawyers are abusing the legal system they should honour and respect as they should, the Icelandic Judge?

    Are lawyers allowed to impede the judge and the legal system of their country, to protect people who need to be Judged and who should be Judged?

    If these people and their lawyers have nothing to hide, they should surely welcome the chance to prove their innocence and clear their names?

    Do these lawyers think they are clever to stall the Justice system and can their clients not be told they will have the choice of getting their lawyers back or not having a lawyer at all as it seems clear why this is happening doesn’t it?

    George Ward

    9 Apr 13 at 8:43 pm

  2. What desperation…
    I do realize that common sense and the law are not the best of acquaintances, but where are the judges who can simply stand up and say the following?:
    “Dear Sirs, whatever else may or may not be so, a case has been brought against you, which you are obliged to answer.
    “Given the personal wealth of your good selves, you have had a better chance than most to select from a pool of clever, and expensive, lawyers to represent you. This is your right and your choice. After all, it has been common practice for people to have the right to defend themselves since the very first laws in Europe were set down in documentary form.
    “It has, however, been equally common practice for those who refuse to defend themselves to be, in all likelihood, found guilty by default.
    Essentially, the resignation of these two lawyers represents YOUR refusal to avail yourselves of your legal right to defend yourselves, with the clear intention of inducing the Icelandic Justice system to give up and allow you freedoms and rights which other Icelanders most certainly do not have.
    “This is of course also your choice, but there are few instances of European systems of justice giving up their prosecutions because the defendants refuse to defend themselves.
    “We feel you should be made aware of that fact, and, we repeat, there is a case against you which you are OBLIGED to answer. The consequences of not doing so are all bad news for yourselves.


    12 Apr 13 at 2:33 pm

  3. Applause war dropper! We couldn’t agree more.

    Imagine if all of us could get off the hook and cancel our cases, waste the Judges time and taxpayers money by simply saying,

    ” Ooops… I haven’t got a lawyer as my lawyer has turned into a chicken or a rabbit and has hopped off with his fees for refusing to appear in court as this is the best they can do to defend me? ”

    Or is the judge being told to come back later or drop the case, because the only way the lawyers can defend the client is to run away from Court?

    When one does not turn up is one not condemned by default and if one’s lawyers do not turn up one has the right to defend oneself or be condemned by default?

    It looks very much as if these people cannot be defended and so the best they can do is run off and hide, hoping for someone powerful to wave a magic wand and make Justice run away from truth, doesn’t it?

    What a Circus performance! If I were those lawyers i would be so ashamed of myself, I wouldn’t be able to look any judge in the face!

    George Ward

    13 Apr 13 at 5:10 pm

  4. Applause likewise, George!
    I can’t imagine any decent justice system doing other than laugh at this pathetic joke.


    14 Apr 13 at 12:41 pm

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