The start of the retrial for the arson attack on the house of journalist Milan Jovanović has been postponed once again, this time due to illness afflicting main defendant Dragoljub Simonović, a former president of the Belgrade municipality of Grocka and current official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party. The retrial’s launch was previously postponed after one of the defence lawyers fell ill.
Simonovic’s legal counsel, Ivica Vuković, informed the judge that his client is ill, though he failed to submit medical documentation proving this claim. He said that Simonović’s wife informed him about his client’s illness over the phone during the evening prior to the scheduled hearing.
Judge Luka Pantelić has scheduled a new hearing for 26th May, as well as two more to be held in late June.
The initial, first-instance verdict convicting the defendants for firebombing the journalist’s house in December 2018 was brought in February last year, but subsequently quashed by the Court of Appeal last November, with the case sent back to the Second Basic Court in Belgrade for retrial. That first-instance verdict had convicted Simonović, together with former police officer Vladimir Mihailović and repeat offender Aleksandar Marinković, who is currently at large, to a total of 12 and a half years in prison for the grievous act of inciting general endangerment.
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