Whistleblower Neo has sentence partially overturned

The Latvian Supreme Court on September 29 lifted the Riga Regional Court’s decision in a criminal case against Ilmars Poikans, a whistleblower who under the pseudonym 'Neo' accessed the database of the Latvian State Revenue Service (VID) and leaked data to the press in 2010.

Following a lengthy court case Poikans had been found guilty and sentenced to 100 hours of community service, despite winning widespread public approval for exposing the hypocrisy of many well-placed members of the elite.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Baiba Kataja said that the court lifted the decision on the sentence in the part of the criminal case where Poikans was found guilty of unlawfully accessing economic data and other trade secrets for personal or other use.

This part of the case will be sent to the appellate court for repeated revision. The Supreme Court said that the court’s decision does not provide the description of the committed crime that would meet the requirements of the Criminal Law as such a description is an important part of the court sentence.

The Supreme Court upheld the Riga Regional Court’s decision in the part where Poikans was acquitted of unlawful use of personal data that has caused significant damage.

The Supreme Court’s decision is final.

As previously reported, Riga Regional Court in November 2015 sentenced Ilmars Poikans to 100 hours of community service.

The court found Poikans guilty of unlawfully accessing economic data and other trade secrets for personal or other use, but acquitted him of unlawful use of personal data that has caused significant damage.

A court of first instance acquitted Poikans in 2014 in a trial that took place nearly five years after he had leaked data from the electronic declaration system of the State Revenue Service in a case brought by ABLV bank.

Poikans had found a fairly simple security hole in the system and posted some of the stolen data on the Internet.

However, despite being voted Latvia's European Of The Year by the public in the wake of the leak, Poikans has had to endure years of litigation. Promises from government that a law would be introduced to protect whistleblowers in similar cases have come to nothing. 

Responding to the latest twist in his tale on Twitter, Poikans wrote: "Will the next chapter in the Neo case be a thriller, detective story or epic?"

 

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