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Constitutional Court Rules in Favor of Re-examination of ‘Lye Doctor’ Case

Fanni Kaszás 2020.02.18.

Krisztián B., also known as the ‘lye doctor,’ was sentenced last year to 11 years in prison for burning his ex-girlfriend’s genitalia and abdomen with industrial-strength lye and leaving the unconscious victim alone. Back in November he filed a constitutional complaint, claiming he was caused irreparable damage during the trial and requested the re-examination of the case. In a ruling issued today, the Constitutional Court of Hungary (AB) has sent the final judgement at the third instance back to the Kúria (the Supreme Court of Justice) for re-examination. However, the AB has not quashed the judgement, so the former doctor will not be released for the re-examination of the case.

In a case lasting several years, the Kúria sentenced Krisztián B. to 11 years in prison for life-threatening bodily harm and other crimes last July. According to the verdict, in March 2013, the doctor burnt the genitalia and lower body of his ex-girlfriend, Erika Renner, with industrial-strength lye, then dragged the unconscious victim to the bathroom, took her phone and laptop, locked the door and left her alone. The Kúria decided that, in addition to the attack being premeditated, the “particularly nasty purpose” and the offense, they also took into account that the attack could have ended with the death of Erika Renner. It caused serious and permanent damage to the woman, whose life was indirectly endangered. An aggravating circumstance was that the accused had committed the crime in violation of his medical oath.

However, on behalf of Krisztián B., a lawyer filed a constitutional complaint to the Constitutional Court. He argued that the Kúria’s citation and judgment had been unconstitutional and requested that the final judgment be quashed and that the case be re-examined. According to the petitioner, Krisztián B. was deprived of the right to a substantive review. The night before the hearing, hundreds of women and men gathered with yellow roses (an international symbol of the fight against domestic violence) for a peaceful protest against the release of the “lye doctor” and laid the roses in front of the courthouse.

Hundreds Demonstrate with Yellow Roses Against Re-examination of ‘Lye Doctor’ Case

According to the Constitutional Court’s statement, although they ruled that the case should be sent back to the Kúria for re-examination, they did not quash the judgement, they “rejected the constitutional complaint against” it and Krisztián B. is not released for re-examination of the case. The statement said that it is the responsibility of the Kúria to assess all evidence and thereby establish the facts and, to some extent, re-examine the proceedings. So it will be up to the Kúria to decide on the form of the re-examination.

The decision does not alleviate the situation of Erika Renner, the victim of the assault, who wants the case – which has lasted now for more than 7 years – to finally end. She told Hungarian news portal index.hu that she was not surprised by the ruling, adding that while lawyers and the whole legal system pay great attention to protecting the rights of defendants and convicts, the rights of victims are shunned and neglected. She brought up the case of Bernadett Orosz as an example, who was seriously beaten by her ex-partner, but the attacker was able to later sue her for naming him publicly before she sued him for the assault.