Suspected murderer and member of the Slovak underworld Karol Mello has gone missing after he was released from custody on ‘procedural grounds’ in what looks like yet another case of manipulation of the Slovak legal system and crony practices in the judiciary.
Mello was apprehended by Polish authorities in October 2010 after almost five years on the run, and because of some unfathomable temporary condition where the Slovak police had to wait on the consent of their Polish counterparts before re-arresting Mello, it looks like he has fled the country again.
The force of the condition lapsed on Sunday, but on Monday (surprise surprise) the police could not find any trace of him. Interior minister Daniel Lipsic, who along with justice minister Lucia Zitnanska was outraged at how the case was dealt with, has referred to the situation as another “example of the complete failure of the Slovak judiciary”
Just why Mello was allowed to walk free thanks to a court ruling, and then why the Slovak authorities were unable to keep him in custody, or even under surveillance, is a total mystery.
Police commissioner Jaroslav Spisiak said that the police “were doing everything permitted by law” to capture Mello again. The case ended up in the Supreme Court because nobody could ascertain who had the jurisdiction to rule on the matter.
Mello is up on charges of having killed a woman and a 10-yr old boy back in 2004. The Polish authorities tried him first for other misdemeanours before releasing him to the Slovak authorities. After being released the first time, Mello was re-arrested and then let go a second time, as the case was passed between courts until the whole thing became a judicial mess.
It eventually ended up in the hands of the Regional Court of Bratislava, which overruled an earlier decision of the Bratislava District Court from 9 May to keep him under lock and key, basically taking Mello’s word for it that he would not leave the country. From someone who had been hiding abroad for five years, that is quite a show of trust.