Almost four months after our last letter to the Attorney General, we have just this week received a response. It is characteristically brusque, and again rejects all our entreaties. It is, however, no clearer than his first reply and it does not answer the questions we raised.
In response to our question as to how the court could declare that Stephan owes a “moral guilt” to his aunt, Elisabeth Kretschmer, the Attorney General was not able to explain:
a) what business the court has in passing judgment on what is morally right, and further,
b) why, if the court feels that Stephan’s aunt was damaged, it prosecuted Stephan on the basis of the Republic of Austria being the victim.
We are amazed that the Attorney General does not feel the need to explain why a payment by Stephan to a third party, should result in Stephan’s sentence being commuted. That the court has discretion when it comes to the mitigation of sentences, does not mean it can ignore basic legal principles. The court found that the damage in this case was that the State had been defrauded out of €550,000. How is justice served if this amount is given to Elisabeth Kretschmer, for no consideration?
It seems clearer than ever that the State has realised it has made a huge mistake in bringing this indefensible case. The concept of “moral guilt” is not found in Austrian law and the inability of the Attorney General to defend it leads us to conclude that Mr Templ’s case is a personal persecution rather than a legal one.
Please find our convenience translation of the Attorney General’s reply below.