This happened in one big domestic company within the period of two years. A few employees were accused of having organized a criminal group, which had been abusing the positions for years, i.e. had been stealing the money belonging to the company.
Apart from the others two controllers were accused of not doing their jobs properly that is, in spite of having been aware of the whole situation they did not
*Due to our respect for professional ethics we are not allowed to expose the names, personal data and other data, which may by any means jeopardise privacy of our clients. The coded names are used for all cases.
do anything to prevent them from stealing the money. In this way they were defined as the members of the same criminal group.
Bill of Indictment
The prosecutor grounded the indictment on the facts that the accused did not do the job of controllers and failed to do their duties and in that way abused their positions and made it possible for the others to rob the company. He based his claims on the:
- the statements given by accused who acknowledged having committed the
crime and maintained that the controllers knew for sure about all illegal acts
but they just looked the other way;
- the files;
- the economics court appointed expert evaluation;
- the wiretapping, the telephone conversation interception the investigating
authorities had been doing before all of them were arrested.
Our lawyer’s office retained one of the controllers who had already been imprisoned when we took the case. Firstly, we had to prove that there were no legal limits for further holding in the police custody. We managed to prove it in a relatively short period of time and our client was released and he continued being defended in a dignified manner while he was out on pretrial release.
We are very proud of the tactics we used. We disagreed with the tactic of the defending barrister of the codefendant controller whose defense was based on that that other accused employees who had acknowledged guilty did not say the truth in order to be in better position during the trial. We decided to analyse and examine in detail the whole period of two years and to evaluate the information on the basis of the material evidence provided from the company where our client was and what exactly he was doing at certain moment. We had a tremendous amount of work to get through and also thrusted aside the evidence that was all just hearsay. We thoroughly succeeded in proving beyond a shadow of doubt what our client had undertaken, how he had done about it, who he had reported to and when he had done it, how many days he had worked, when exactly he was absent, where he was at the time when some behavior was allegedly proven with taped phone conversations, what his phone conversations content was like, who he contacted with … and so for every day of accusing within the period of two years. The summing-up speech lasted for two days and it itself says how complex the whole operation was.
Our client was eventually acquitted of the charges in proceedings ended in 2010. He managed to continue leading a normal life but another colleague jointly accused was found guilty and sentenced over five years in prison.
The moral of this case
The most important lesson drawn from the described case is that despite the hard work that must have been done owing to reach the final goal it was worth it in the proceedings. It was the only way, the harder way but finally proved fruitful. On the other hand, easier approach would have been more hazardous and the dilemma over whether the client was guilty or not would be placed. If you properly elaborate material evidence, there is no statement to refute it. Our moral is never quarrel with other accused people or witnesses but calmly and patiently prove evidence that is in collision with bill of indictment.
Our client appeared in media as one of the participants in kidnapping and all based on an inadequate and confusing statement of one of the accused. The person in question in the statement given to the police mentioned our client by nickname (the nick name that is very common in Serbia). The alleged role of our client in the kidnapping which was described without any firm evidence was in just hearsay manner. Right upon that statement our client was arrested for kidnapping after accepting voluntarily the phone call from the police inspector from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He had been kept in prison for a period of one month and after full investigation he was released. But, a few months later he was arrested again with accusation that he was a member of the organized criminal group. The next four years he spent imprisoned.
The client, whose name had not been known in the world of crimes was on trial in the Special Court, and was charged with participating in kidnapping the injured party by guarding in turn the kidnapped person in captivity with other accused people with the plain intention of not releasing him until the ransom was received. Our view was that the indictment had been initially projected as universal, multi personal and multi disciplinary conspiracy action for performing this criminal act, by which the procedure would be finished of first instance. From our point of view the conspiracy theory was given up during the final process preparation when the prosecution authorities stopped criminal charges against a number of the accused ones judging either from lack of evidence or from good reasons. Unfortunately, our client was not among them.
Our tactic was founded on a fact that our client was embraced with accusation in an utterly generalised and blanket way i.e. he was accused of criminal association with people he did not even know. The indictment on our client was made without any concrete material evidence and for the reason we maintained that the criminal act of criminal conspiracy had been attributed for the purpose of justification for mentioning his name in the accusation.
There was not any firm evidence for our client prosecution. Despite the fact that this was not politically coloured trial and among all other accused people he was treated as an irrelevant one and none of the witnesses did even mention his name, none of them even knew him, he spent four years in prison just because he had the most frequent nickname in Serbia.
After spending four years in prison on suspicion of being a member of the criminal group who had committed kidnapping and murder the trial ended in our client acquittal. He was the only one released.
The moral of this case
Even if you think that the evidence is on your side and the indictment is without a firm foundation you must try hard to get to the bottom of all prosecution motives as even behind seemingly insignificant moves some reasons related to the daily actual political moment or trends in the legal system are hidden. To conclude, be always well informed and put together the jigsaw pieces.
The situation analysis
Here we are going to analyse the general problem of debt collection, which many of our clients face with quite often. Also, it is threatening to become a serious cause of domestic economy. In other words, it takes sometimes up to 300 days to recover a debt but if bankruptcy procedure and courts are involved the debt collection lasts for years. Debtors most often practise avoiding paying off their debts and sometimes they are very ingenious (by means of selling their properties or by conveyance of property, by hiding the income and other assets or possessions, using all kinds of excuses...). We constantly try hard to improve the quality of our services using all available legal methods as well as business intelligence, which help us quicken a process to the utmost for our clients.
The current situation in this field of economy is regulated with executive orders limiting payment deadlines but at the same time the state tries to abide by the basic principals of liberal economy. The most important thing might be to raise the business people awareness that the ordered and delivered goods must be paid as well as all their liabilities must be carried out on time. This is of essential importance for individuals as their property and possessions will be jeopardised.
In accordance with the data from 2011, the two-thirds of companies in Serbia managed to carry out all their enforcement debts within the period of 120 days while some of them waited for debt recovery longer than 300 days. Such statistics see Serbia on the last position in Europe even Albania comes before with 127 days on average.
The opinions of experts about this problem are divided. On the one hand it is thought that the debt recovery is a contractual relation of the parties in the contract and it is a part of competitive relation and this should not be regulated with the law provisions. On the other side the reality is that court proceedings are slow and costly and the whole situation can seriously jeopardise the entire economy and can affect the scheme of foreign investors trust in domestic partners.
The debt recovery service is offered by the Lawyer’s Office Djordjevic due to fewer number of companies can spend time and own resources on quality due diligence of their debtors and in accordance with the obtained results to institute the proceedings.
All activities connected with debt collection are allowed by the laws and correct according to the existing laws in the Republic of Serbia. We check the debtors of our clients and based on the information provided we start the legal procedures. We aim to maximise our efforts in order to shorten the debt collection time because our primary goal is fast and successful debt recovery instead of taking long lasting proceedings.
Business Societies – Companies
Your part in this business relation is to prepare all relevant documents (invoices, dispatch notes, contracts, statements from the business books, ...) because we need a good documentary background in order to start debt collection procedure. On the basis of all above mentioned we set in motion checking the assets of debtors or depending on the situation we try to find the best possible ways and solutions for the debt collection but we can never exclude the possibility to sue for debt recovery which virtually means each case is treated from the beginning up to the end.
Individuals – Citizens
Many people encouraged by friends and relatives decide to become endorsers believing in regular repaying a loan. Some of the debtors found themselves in a seriously difficult financial situation and a huge number of them behave really negligently towards their credit liabilities so the friends and relatives as endorsers are implicated in the problem.
In such cases the debtors usually promise to make their debts repayment (they always say that they have been waiting for some money, or they have just sold a land property or a flat, or they are taking a loan...) and in such a way they themselves manage to buy some more time and you are being mislead.
If you find yourself in such a situation you should have to know that there is a legal remedy and also, you can engage the lawyer to help you collect the debt. If you wait you waste precious time as the debtors can sell their properties and in the meantime the others may enforce their debts. The longer you wait, the harder you will have your money back.