Bizarre 1990s Kinder egg court case continues in Latvia

A petty theft court case from the early 1990s in which a 14-year-old boy is charged with stealing candy, including a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, and electronics which are presumably now laughably obsolete, is still underway, according to Latvian Television’s “Panorāma” broadcast on January 14.

The court case involving the young boy, who is now a middle-aged man with visible gray hairs, began a few years after the crime was committed. In the first case he was acquitted, but the prosecutor’s office has said with suitably Kafka-esque certainty that the proceedings must continue.

“Currently the prosecutor’s office has asked us to verify all of the testimonies from 1995 and 1994. We’re currently doing that, reading the case materials, reading the testimonies. The 1995 protocols are being read,” said defense attorney Artūrs Zvejsalnieks.

“Part of them weren’t translated in the first instance, now they’re translated for the appeal. We’re continuing to completely seriously look through them. No witnesses have appeared in person, because out of seven witnesses one is dead, four are abroad and, of course, unreachable,” said Zvejsalnieks.

Because of the length of the legal proceeding the accused defendant has turned to the European Court of Human Rights, which has accepted the case even before it is closed in Latvia.

Time needed to resolve civil, commercial, administrative and other cases

According to the 2019 EU Justice Scoreboard Latvia ranked 16th in 2017 in terms of time needed to resolve civil, commercial, administrative and other cases, despite ranking 22nd in terms of number of incoming civil, commercial, administrative and other cases per capita. Estonia and Lithuania placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in terms of case length.

Number of incoming civil, commercial, administrative and other cases
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