Prosecution clerk convicted for leaking classified info
A former clerk at the Specialised State Prosecutor's Office has been sentenced to two years in prison for leaking classified information in a case allegedly linked to a notorious Montenegrin crime syndicate. The ruling is not yet final with both the prosecution and the defence announcing appeals.
The defendant, who had access to classified information about orders for house searches and undercover surveillance measures, had been charged with twelve counts of leaking such information.
The prosecution argued that she had committed these crimes for personal gain, providing classified information to suspects, mainly the targets of covert surveillance measures.
In the process, classified information allegedly reached the Slovenian cell of Kavač Clan, the Montenegrin criminal cartel known for its ruthlessness, forewarning its members of planned house searches against them. However, this was not proven in court.
In a judgement declared on 7 June, the Ljubljana District Court sentenced the defendant to two years in prison on one count of leaking classified information, the only one she pleaded guilty to, and acquitted her of the other counts for lack of evidence.
The defendant admitted that she told two friends and a former partner that she had been tasked with processing an order involving a person she knew.
What the prosecution provided as evidence that the defendant had passed on classified information for personal gain was lacking or only circumstantial, judge Martin Jančar said, adding that he had never had a more difficult case in his career.
"The fact that a classified prosecution document circulated among certain suspects in the Kavač Clan case is not sufficient proof that the defendant had sent it to them," the judge said.
In determining the severity of the sentence, the court took into account the defendant's lack of criminal record and the fact that there was no risk of reoffending as she is no longer a prosecution employee.
On the other hand, the gravity of her crime is such that imprisonment is required, since leaking classified information can put lives at risk, the judge added.
The defendant has spent more than two-thirds of her sentence in custody after news of her arrest made headlines in November 2021.
The prosecution had sought four years and a half in prison, and will appeal in a bid to get the defendant convicted on other counts too.
The case underlines a huge problem in Slovenia's investigations and prosecution involving electronic data and communication, the prosecution said, as it is easy for suspects to erase or encode such data.
The defendant's counsel intends to appeal in order to get a milder sentence.