Fine against ex-minister over mask rule violation annulled

Ljubljana – The Ljubljana District Court has stopped offence proceedings over mask-wearing rule violations at a charity event organized by the Slovenian Olympic Committee in September 2020 that also featured the then education minister, annulling the fines imposed by the Health Inspectorate.

The Health Inspectorate had ordered hundred of euros in fines to be paid, but the court has now ruled the mandatory mask-wearing decree lacked legal grounds.

The proceedings were terminated for several guests of the charity event – whose names remain undisclosed – expect for those whose appeals have been dismissed on procedural grounds, Kos, Štrumpfl, and Partners, the law firm representing the defendants, told the STA.

One of the court’s decisions acquired by the STA states that not wearing face masks at the event “was not an offence”, adding that the court did not find statutory elements of an offence so the proceedings were terminated.

The District Court’s judgement was based on the Supreme Court’s judgement from September 2021, finding the communicable diseases act is not a viable legal reference for determining mask wearing offences or their legal repercussion.

Public outcry followed after former Education Minister Simona Kustec was photographed without a face mask along with some 140 other attendees of the charity event during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Constitutional Court has annulled several government regulations imposing Covid-19 restrictions on the grounds that they lacked a legal basis in the relevant law.

In a decision announced in late June, the court added the indoor mask-wearing mandate to the list of unconstitutional measures imposed by the previous government in response to the epidemic.