Two and a half months after we sent our Open Letter to the Attorney General of Austria, Dr Werner Pleischl, we received a response. We had written to Dr Pleischl as, in his role of Attorney General , he is the “supreme guardian of the application of the law“. He alone has the discretion to examine the decisions of the courts – even after a conviction – to ensure that they have correctly applied the law and, in cases where an individual has been disadvantaged as a result of an incorrect application of the law, to re-establish justice in such cases by re-opening them.
Given that Stephan Templ’s conviction was based an an extreme mis-application of the law – which has puzzled lawyers, journalists and legal experts – we appealed to the Attorney General to use his authority to allow this case to be looked at again. We gave detailed reasons for why his discretion applied, raised the numerous errors of fact and errors of law relied upon for the original verdict, and provided an evidential basis of Austrian law and Austrian restitution legislation which underpinned our arguments.
Notwithstanding his tremendous discretion in cases like this, and the purpose of his role to be one of mercy and of justice, we were surprised to receive a brusque one-page ‘response’ that rejected all our claims, with little reasoning and no legal support given.
Mr Templ’s reputation and liberty are at stake here and we were astonished that the Attorney General did not feel it necessary to deal with the numerous arguments we raised, but instead summarily rejected our claims in their entirety.