The trial of Miklós Hagyó and 14 other defendants continued in Kecskemét, Hungary on February 28th. During the hearing, the court witnessed another alteration to the indictment. This time, the changes were made to the alleged financial damage accumulated to the Budapest Transit Company (BKV). Unfortunately, the article from which I get this information does not detail the modifications. I would not be surprised if the prosecution and/or the Kecskemét Tribunal obstructs this information from the public.
The prosecution has already changed the charges in the indictment many times. In fact, defendants and followers of the case have dubbed the indictment the “political pamphlet.” This, no doubt, refers to the widely held belief that the case is show trial – a highly publicized trial in which the verdict is rigged. One cannot help but sympathize.
Out of curiosity, I briefly researched the possibility to change the original charges of an indictment in two other judicial systems which are usually considered “fair” and objective.
According to the Department of Justice’s website, it is generally forbidden to alter the original indictment charges in the United States. For example, the 1962 case of Russell v. United States yielded the opinion that if the original charges were changed or amended, then the defendant(s) “could then be convicted on the basis of facts not found by, and perhaps not even presented to, the grand jury which indicted him.”
In England, the Crown Prosecution Service’s website states that amending the indictment requires “an express order of the court to comply with s5(1) of the Indictments Act 1915.” Otherwise, the amendment is null.
Judicial law permits the alteration of original indictment charges in Hungary. I fail to see, though, how that supports a fair trial. If the prosecution can amend or draft new charges throughout the trial, why even bother to create an indictment in the first place?