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Copying Judgment Was a Slip-Up! Said Judge Mandić

Judge Radmila Mandić from the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg confirmed during the hearing before the Disciplinary Commission of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina that she had copied a portion of someone else's judgment into the verdict against CIN, calling it a „slip-up“.
Photo: Dženat Dreković (CIN)

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC ODC) conducted a main hearing in the case concerning Judge Radmila Mandić from the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg. She stands accused, inter alia, of possible misconduct in rendering a first-instance judgment in a defamation case filed by the company Lager against the Centre for Investigative Reporting (CIN).

Judge Mandić admitted to copying sections of the judgment from her colleague Snježana Parlain, who had presided over the case Lager vs. Žurnal five months earlier, and before that in the case Lager vs. Inforadar.

„It is true that I used that judgment. It’s true that I made a technical error in one section“, Mandić stated before the Disciplinary Commission of the HJPC.

When asked by disciplinary counsel Dejana Bojanić whether she had read the judgment after writing it, Judge Mandić replied that she had indeed read the judgment but due to health issues, the mistake went undetected. „It was a slip-up“, she explained. Mandić mentioned that she had only returned from sick leave and had a heavy workload at the time.

In early December 2023, Judge Radmila Mandić issued a first-instance judgment ordering CIN to compensate Lager from Posušje with BAM 4,000 for defamation and to remove from the portal the investigative stories Lager’s faulty goods and Stockpiling concessions, which discuss the company’s business practices.

Lager’s faulty goods
Justice institutions are investigating the operations of the company Lager from Posušje due to deals worth around four million BAM. The company has been suspected of delivering altered machines to customers instead of new ones.
Stockpiling concessions
By favoring of authorities, the company Lager from Posušje was awarded concessions for the exploitation of natural resources in BiH, but it does not fully honor its obligations and it owes concession fees.

Except for the brief overview of the text which was the subject of Lager’s lawsuit, Judge Mandić referred in the larger part of her decision to content that CIN had not even published.

Trying to make sense of a series of unclear and illogical statements from the judgment, the CIN editorial team compared these three judgments and discovered that Judge Mandić to a significant extent copied the judgment of Judge Snježana Parlain, who handled cases against Inforadard and Žurnal, whose conclusions ended up in the CIN judgment.

All three judgments were rendered in favor of the company Lager from Posušje.

Široki Brijeg Court Holds CIN Liable For Defamation Over Reporting By Another Media Outlet
The Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg has issued a first-instance judgment ordering the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) to pay damages to the company Lager for defamation related to the allegations presented in texts by Žurnal. In three months, Široki Brijeg courts have delivered three verdicts in favor of the company from Posušje against various media outlets.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel initiated the case ex officio following the publication of the article by CIN, alleging Judge Mandić with the disciplinary offense of negligence or misconduct. In addition to the accusation of copying a portion of the judgment in the case against CIN, the judge is also charged with three other failures in the performance of official duties, including delays in drafting decisions and procedural lapses while working in the council. The judge did not contest any of these allegations before the HJPC Commission.

The disciplinary proceedings against Judge Mandić will resume in April.

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