On Monday, the trial of the Green Club chairwoman Sigrid Maurer, who had been sued by a beer owner for defamation, was continued at the Vienna Regional Court. A first instance judgment should not be expected. Since an urgently needed witness named Willi did not appear, there was another adjournment in the room at the start of the negotiations.
Maurer had assumed that an operator of a beer bar had sent her obscene private messages via Facebook at the end of May 2018, which Maurer herself made public via her Twitter account. Last September, the restaurateur suddenly claimed that a certain Willi was responsible for the news. He must have written the obscene messages in his restaurant on a PC that is accessible to all guests and used his Facebook account. In this context, the landlord presented the court with an alleged letter of confession from a customer and acquaintance with the first name Wilhelm, who is registered in Stromstrasse in Brigittenau.
In fact, an acquaintance with the appropriate first name Wilhelm was found in the vicinity of the restaurant operator. The man, for whom it is currently not clear whether he has anything to do with the matter at all, was summoned to today’s hearing as a witness, and he had taken over the summons himself. A few minutes before the hearing, however, the man called the office of the regional court and apologized that he could not come because of an illness.
Judge Hartwig Handsur then interrupted the hearing in order to have the information provided by the witness checked. Policemen were sent to the man’s address to do, as Handsur said, an “amateur assessment” of his health and report it to the court. The appointment of a medical officer was not possible at short notice. Should the police have doubts about the indisposition of the witness, the judge could order him to be compulsorily brought before him.
In this case, Maurer was sentenced to a fine of 3,000 euros in the first legal process in October 2018 for defamation. Another 4,000 euros were awarded to the local operator for the “misfortune suffered”. In addition, Maurer would have had to bear the costs of the procedure. However, the Vienna Higher Regional Court (OLG) overturned this decision in March 2019 and ordered the proceedings to be carried out again.