Austrian Trial Press Conference: Accusations Nothing but Hot Air!

Vienna, 26/3/10

The first four weeks of the trial are over. All accusations have been laid on the table and it is clear that the prosecution's case has no substance

Lawyer Mag. Stefan Traxler, Mag. Eberhart Theuer and Lawyer Mag. Phillip Josef Bischof.
Jürgen Faulmann and DDr. Martin Balluch.
D.I. Elmar Völkl.
Harald Balluch and DDr. Martin Balluch


Defendants and defence lawyers gave a press conference on 26.03.10 to mark the end of the fourth week of the animal protection trial proceedings. It was suggested that the case should go down in history not as the “monster” trial as it is being called in the Austrian media, but as the “e-mail” trial, as the case is almost entirely based on the defendants' expressing of opinions in e-mails and internet forums.

Illegal Withholding of Information

The lawyers told the press that police have still failed to present all the results of their investigations to the defence although they are legally obliged to do so. One of the lawyers representing three of the defendants said he found it particularly puzzling that the prosecution have the researching of factory farms as such a central accusation. The photos made during such research make up reports of cruelty against farmers to the State Prosecution, not to any criminal organisation. He went on to show journalists photos of sick and dying animals on factory farms and asked if anyone could imagine a criminal organisation anywhere in the world that would be interested in these photos, because he certainly couldn't.

Exonerating Evidence

Defendant DDr Balluch said that he was looking forward to hearing what the special police commission have to say in their questioning. He is very curious to see whether they will at last start talking about the results of the surveillance reports which have been held back all this time. Defendant Jürgen Faulmann agreed saying that the surveillance reports contain exonerating evidence in his favour.

Irrational Accusations

Harald Balluch, VGT manager, was informed just weeks before the beginning of the proceedings that he was to go on trial. He told the press that this short notification is in breach of his rights as laid out in the European Convention on Human Rights. He argued that the case against him was not objective and gave the example of the accusation against him that he had bought a jacket with fur trim from a clothes shop in order to have the fur tested. According to the special commission this was preliminary work in choosing this store as a new target for an anti-fur campaign. Balluch commented that had the prosecution bothered to read the results of the investigations they would have read that this particular store had already been the target of such a campaign for four years at the time that Balluch had the fur trim tested. He continued saying that for him it was absolutely clear that the investigations had been carried out the wrong way around: There was no attempt to find perpetrators of damage to property, rather animal campaigners doing their work openly were known to the authorities and the offences could be attributed to them via the use of 278a. While, of course, the crimes remain unsolved.

E-mail Encryption

Defendant Elmar Völkl never thought it would be possible for a trial like this to happen. He said freely that he does wish to influence politics in his campaigning work and has done research in factory farms in order to expose animal abuse with the aim of improving laws for animals. He also told the press that he had helped many people with email encryption and sees nothing suspicious in this, especially as many government agencies in both Austria and Germany strongly recommend PC and email encryption.

Proceedings will resume on 7th April with the questioning of the special police commission responsible for investigating the defendants.






















From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

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