Daily Archives: 6. December 2013

5 December 2013

More on the Hessian domestic secret service – and a challenge for bias lacking any merit.

Today’s trial day began with a motion by victims’ counsel that the witness counsel accompanying Temme’s former informer be disqualified from taking part in the trial. This counsel had been provided to the witness by the Hessian domestic secret service before his first questioning by federal police. In today’s trial, too, he seemed to be more concerned with safeguarding the interest of the secret service than those of the man who was ostensibly his client: He objected to questions concerning a possible influence of the secret service on the testimony of the witness, arguing that the answers to such questions exceeded the scope of the “permission to testify” provided to the witness by the secret service. Earlier, he had not intervened when the witness was asked a number of other questions which arguably also went beyond that permission, but which did not touch the interests of the secret service. If these answers did indeed exceed the scope of the permission, the counsel thus allowed the witness to commit the crime of betrayal of state secrets. This shows that the counsel did not safeguard the interests of the witness, but (also) those of the domestic secret service. The court disagreed and denied the motion.

Further questioning of the witness again proved to be a rather slow and cumbersome process. It seems that the witness did not understand many questions, and where he did, he either could not or would not remember anything. He did make one interesting statement, namely that he worked as an informer for the military secret service before the domestic secret service.

Questioning by victim’s counsel Antonia von der Behrens again showed the problems arising from the court’s refusal to make the case file against Temme part of the current case file: She had looked at that case file in the office of the federal prosecutor and now quoted to the witness from her noted. The Wohlleben defence claimed that this procedure was not admissible – the court disagreed and allowed Ms. von der Behrens to quote from her notes.

This decision than moved the Wohlleben defence to challenge presiding judge Götzl for bias, claiming that in all earlier questionings, those quoting from documents not contained in the case file had been required to provide the court with a copy. This challenge seems quite silly – it is generally accepted that quotes from one’s own notes are acceptable, and it seems rather sensible that a questioner cannot be required to provide a copy of a document she simply does not have.

The court postponed the decision in order to finish the testimony of the witness. However, he was not finally dismissed, but will probably have to appear before the court once more.

3/4 December 2013

The domestic secret service remembers nothing

All trials days of this week concern the murder of Halit Yozgat in Kassel, in particular what former domestic secret service agent Andreas Temme, who was present at the crime scene, had seen. Both in the criminal investigation against him as well as in the current trial, Temme claims not to remember much of anything. His testimony was far from convincing. On Tuesday he continued with his confused stories. His questioning, which is far from being finished, so far did not advance the trial at all.

Before his testimony, the court had again decided that the case files against Temme would not become part of the court’s case file – victims’ counsel had asked the court to reconsider its earlier decision to that effect. The court remains steadfast in its opinion that all material contained in those case files is without relevance to the present proceedings – probably because it is not strictly necessary for convicting the present accused.

That this decision does not make much sense and that it leads to a cumbersome procedure became clear during the testimony of Temme’s former informer. Counsel for the Yozgat family had used quotes from the case files against Temme, which they had received a while ago from the federal prosecution, to refresh the memory of the witness. The presiding judge demanded that they provide printouts of these pages to the court – an absurd situation given that the court had just previously declined to take these pages into account. Counsel for the Yozgat family offered to provide the court with copies of all those parts of the case file which they had received, but the presiding judge instead ordered that each document from the case file so used would have to be printed out and provided to the court.

Both witnesses are supposed to testify further on Thursday. If the presiding judge continues to rely on the current cumbersome procedure, this testimony will take quite a while. It seems that presiding judge Götzl has problems getting unwilling witnesses to talk, which leads to a quite severe lengthening of the trial.