Dragoljub Simonović, former president of the Belgrade Municipality of Grocka (photo: Media Center Belgrade)

Trial for arson attack on home of journalist postponed due to defendant’s lawyer failing to show

July 31, 2019

The main pretrial hearing in the case against former Grocka Mayor Dragoljub Simonović, who is accused of ordering an arson attack on the house of Milan Jovanović, a journalist of portal Žig info, has not been held due to the lawyers of the two accused, as well as one of the accused themselves, failing to turn up in court.

Due to their failure to attend the hearing, the judge fined the defenders of Dragoljub Simonović and Igor Novaković 80,000 dinars each, insisting that they were “unjustifiably absent”. Journalist Jovanović said that he was not surprised by the lawyer’s failure to appear and that it was clear to him that they were trying to obstruct the trial in every possible way.

One of the Simonovićs lawyers, Viktor Gostiljac, instead of attending the trial, appeared at a Serbian Bar Association press conference a few hours later, telling reporters that he had been on his annual leave and that he had interrupted it due to the press conference that he considered “extremely important”.

Cenzolovka previously uncovered information that the defendants’ defence lawyers had filed a request for the court to postpone the hearing due to them planning to take their annual leave, but that the court had denied the request.

Jovanović’s lawyer, Ana Matić Alimpijević, later assessed for Cenzolovka that there was always a possibility of the defence filing a new request for postponement, or simply for one of the defence lawyers not to appear at the main hearing.

The next hearing has been scheduled for 20th September at the Second Basic Court.