The Presentation of Evidence has come to a Close

2014. február 24., hétfő

The second trial of the presbytery court regarding the unveiling of a statue of Miklós Horthy at Szabadság Square was held on 20 February. The Church's legal advisor and the legal representation of Loránt Hegedűs Jr. have both given their closing arguments and the court has scheduled the verdict to be announced on the 7th of March.

During the trial held, the following witnesses were summoned to give their testimonies – the police lieutenant, the organizer of the event, Csaba Tóth, who with his officers secured the place of the demonstration against the unveiling of the statue, and Zoltán Király, the chief elder of the Szabadság Square congregation. With this, the presentation of evidence (case-in-chief) was closed in the disciplinary procedure, which was opened following the unveiling of the statue of Milkós Horthy on 3 November 2013.

According to the motion of prosecutor György Horváth, photos and audio recordings taken during the service, the sermon and the speech of Márton Gyöngyösi, Jobbik MP, all prove that as a matter of fact the ceremony held on 3 November was "a political event disguised as a service, drawing attraction and provocation". Horváth claimed that the conduct of Loránt Hegedűs Jr. has violated several different aspects of the church law regarding reformed pastors’ rights and duties. "He encourages division; this is not a path that anyone should take," Horváth said about the pastor. "This presents the Reformed Church in Hungary in a bad light, and anything that allows Loránt Hegedűs to continue preaching is no punishment," Horváth stated when asked why he suggested that Hegedűs be defrocked.

Árpád Nemes, Hegedűs’ legal representative, has emphasized that the reformed people were not divided by the celebrating congregation, rather, it was the demonstration, which was held at the same time in front of the church protesting the unveiling, that was scandalous. In his opinion there is no real evidence for the disciplinary offences listed by Horváth, all of this is merely mud-slinging. The synod regulation forbidding political events does not apply to services. According to Nemes there was no violation of church laws, and in his opinion the charges of incitement of hatred and anti-Semitism cannot be proven. Therefore he suggested the acquittal of Loránt Hegedűs Jr. and compensation for incurred legal costs.

The court’s ruling will be made on the 7th of March.



Written by Feke György; translated by Anita Polgári

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