Ministry to probe court decision to free man who cut wife's ear off

Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns (New Conservative Party) said May 22 he'll review a decision by judge Vivita Freimane to free a man who cut his wife's ear off after a restraining order had been put on him.

Last fall, the spouse of Sanita, the attacked woman, broke her cheekbone. A restraining order was promptly issued, but in March the man took revenge on and cut her ear off. A criminal process was started, and the man was imprisoned for its duration. However, the safety measure ran out a week ago and judge Freimane did not renew it. This makes Sanita fear for her safety.

The police had asked to keep the violent man behind bars. 

"In this situation we did all that we could. I think that the man poses a public threat. The judge doesn't think so," said Inga Meikšāne, an investigator at the Rīga department of the State Police.

Freimane, a judge of Rīga's Latgale District Court, earlier said that the man had repented during his two months in prison and is unlikely to pose further threat to his wife. But after increasing public interest in the case, Freimane took to explain her decision on the website of the Court Administration. 

The explanation said that imprisonment isn't punishment, and that the man wants to contact his children and is therefore not as dangerous as it may seem. But LTV's Panorāma news show has found out that the man has been stripped of his childcare rights and therefore could not legally contact his children if he wanted to. 

"This has been blown way out of proportion and I don't want to get involved anymore," the judge told LTV.

Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns said he is to review the decision and the entire case. He said that it's also unclear as to why the investigation is still ongoing even though the man has pleaded guilty.

Meanwhile LTV has learned that a disciplinary case had been started against Freimane in the past for gross negligence during legal proceedings. In a court decision, she had referred to laws that are not in force anymore. Back then she explained the mishap with her lack of experience and carelessness. Freimane doesn't want to discuss that case anymore and incidentally can't be found in court, saying she has gone to a conference to top up her expertise. 

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