Trial of lawyer for Serbia’s drug grower opens because of threats to reporter

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Jelena Zorić
Source: N1

The trial of Svetislav Bojic, a defence lawyer for the main defendant in the case of the European largest marijuana plant, for endangering the safety of Jelena Zoric, a Serbia's journalist, opened in Belgrade on Thursday.

Zoric’s attorney Dragoljub Djordjevic, told reporters the procedure was urgent because it was a crime related to performing public duty.

„Bojic refused to present his defence demanding the court provide recording from security cameras outside the Belgarde Higher Court Special Department for Organised Crime although they were kept for 23 days only,“ Djordjevic said.

Prosecutors were said to have demanded the recordings just after that deadline expired, despite Zoric reported the incident on December 29, a day after it happened.

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Jelena Zoric reported extensively for N1 on the largest marijuana plant in Europe Jovanjica, situated in northern Serbia, owned by Koluvija.

Zoric’s hearing is due after presenting evidence proposed by the defence and the prosecution, he has added.

Bojic’s defence attorney Kristina Pavlovic told the Association Of Serbia’s Journalists (UNS) that her client did not threaten Zoric and that there was no crime of endangering safety.

She added that the threat should be concrete and direct against a body and life, which was not the case.

Pavlovic said she told the court that prosecutors’ office seriously violated her client’s rights, primarily the presumption of innocence.

Last December, Bojic approached Zoric in front of the court in Belgrade, saying that Koluvija told him that she was „destroying him with her reporting,“ but that he was praying for her just as he was praying for the prosecutor and the police officer who arrested him.

Bojic also told Zoric, currently the most awarded TV investigative journalists in Serbia,  that „whoever fell foul of Predrag“ didn’t end up well.

A day later, Bojic approached Zoric again and said his client told him to say hello.

In January this year, new threats to the then N1 reporter Zoric appeared after a written message, „this will last until it ends. It cannot be avoided,“ was found outside the door to her apartment.

Koluvija is on trial charged with heading an organised crime group that produced and sold 1.6 tons of marijuana on an organic food farm visited by several state officials.