President pardons man sentenced to six years for shooting
On Wednesday, President Václav Klaus issued an official pardon to a man serving a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder. The case of Karel Bašta, who shot at thieves escaping his property, seriously injuring one of them, was recently addressed by the Supreme Court, which upheld the stiff sentence by ruling that in similar cases killing a thief in defence of property needed to be assessed as murder – not manslaughter. By granting a pardon, the president has brought the case to a surprising conclusion, one that the convicted man himself could not have expected.
“I think that the court has to approach individual cases ad hoc, case by case. It’s not possible to say in general in all cases it will always be ‘murder’. I’m convinced of that.”
Indeed, soon after the Supreme Court modified its ruling, agreeing with the ad hoc assessment. As for Mr Bašta, following the court’s decision, he could not have suspected he would be released within a matter of weeks. On Wednesday, he expressed his genuine surprise upon being told he was walking free:
The pardon has brought the Supreme Court’s recent ruling back into the spotlight as well as details in Mr Bašta’s own case. One thing not discussed by the press in recent weeks but which certainly sheds light on the incident two years ago is this: prior to the shooting at the vehicle, sources report, he was burgled almost 20 times and was once even shot at himself.