On Monday the Supreme Court of Iceland rejected demands by the accused in the Baugur case to throw the outstanding eight charges against them out of court. The Supreme Court confirmed the Reykjavík District Court ruling, which stated that the specially appointed state prosecutor Sigurdur Tómas Magnússon had responsibility for the case. The Supreme Court also confirmed that Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason was competent to appoint a special state prosecutor in the case.
The lawyers of the accused had demanded that the charges be suspended on the basis that Magnússon lacked the authorization to handle the eight remaining charges. The defendants’ lawyers had argued that moving cases from the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police to the State Prosecutor’s office after a charge had been published is not allowed. The Supreme Court rejected this specific comment.
The defendants also claimed that Bjarnason was not competent to appoint the state prosecutor in this particular case, since he had made some negative comments about Baugur and the accused which were said to cast doubt on his objectivity. The Supreme Court agreed with the district court that some of these comments were very critical of Baugur, but that it could not be seen how they specifically connected to individual claims in the case and did not prove Bjarnason’s inability to work in the case. The court specifically mentioned that politicians have to have freedom of speech so that they can participate in general debate in society.
Morgunbladid reports that Bjarnason said of yesterday’s court ruling: “I am glad that Supreme Court confirms the conclusion of the district court and that it will now be possible to discuss this very complex case on a factual basis. I never thought that I would be incompetent to appoint a state prosecutor to handle the case, even though some of those who are being charged in the Baugur case, and their defendants, have said harsh words about me.”