Man gets convicted for assault in court case that sparked public outrage

NEWS 10.01.2019 20:30
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Source: N1

The 31-year-old Darko Kovacevic, also known as Daruvarac, was sentenced to five years in prison by the Municipal Court in the coastal city of Zadar on Thursday for brutally beating his former girlfriend, 18, in June last year, in a widely publicised case that sparked calls for legislative changes and better protection for victims of violence.

After pleading guilty on Wednesday, Kovacevic was on Thursday sentenced to four and a half years in prison for inflicting grievous bodily harm on his 18-year-old former girlfriend in a Zadar cafe bar, and an additional 10 months for making threats, converted into a single sentence of five years of unconditional imprisonment, subject to appeal.

The assault took place on June 13 in a bar in Zadar, and was recorded on the bar’s surveillance camera. The footage made its way online, but was taken down in the meantime.

The case drew public outrage in December last year, when Kovacevic was released from custody after his attorneys failed to show up in court and the hearing could not be held. The judge had to release him given that the six-month deadline for keeping him in investigative custody on the charge of grievous bodily harm had run out.

A rally was held in Zadar after his release, with protesters insisting that Kovacevic be charged with attempted murder, since in that case investigative custody of up to 12 months, and not six, could be imposed. Protesters had gathered outside the local courthouse, reading out testimonies of abused women.

Senior state officials had also strongly condemned the assault and announced amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act, with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic saying in December that the Kovacevic case was one of “horrific violence in which it’s more than clear, and the evidence is on the Internet, what exactly happened.”

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