The High Court (Landsdómur) assembled yesterday to rule on a demand made by the lawyer representing Iceland’s former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, Andri Árnason, that he be granted access to the same documents as Althingi parliament’s prosecutor, Sigrídur Fridjónsdóttir. The request was dismissed.
Former Prime Minister of Iceland Geir H. Haarde. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Reykjavík District Court had earlier ruled that Haarde’s lawyer could not have Althingi’s entire case against the former PM for alleged misconduct in office dismissed, Fréttabladid reports.
At the same time Fridjónsdóttir demanded access to information from the National Archives of Iceland, information on which Althingi’s Special Investigative Commission based its report on the banking collapse. She was not granted access to it.
The High Court did not take a position on the District Court’s ruling but concluded that it couldn’t be appealed to the High Court.
After the verdict on the dismissal of Árnason’ request was announced yesterday, the High Court discussed whether the Prime Minister’s Office should comply with Fridjónsdóttir’s demand that she be granted access to all of Haarde’s emails since he took office in 2006.
Fridjónsdóttir reasoned that the emails were necessary in preparing her case. Einar Karl Hallvardsson, the lawyer representing the Prime Minister’s Office, said it isn’t clear in this instance whether the office is obligated to hand over the emails and so it is natural for the High Court to clear up the legal uncertainty on this issue.
Then Árnason demanded that the case against Haarde be dismissed on the grounds that the election of Althingi’s prosecutor had not been in compliance with the law. He also demanded that her demand to access Haarde’s emails be dismissed or rejected.
The High Court’s conclusion on these issues is pending. There is nothing in the law stating that the court must make its decision within a certain time limit.
However, the limit in regular courts is four weeks and Fridjónsdóttir said it is likely that the High Court will operate in the same manner.
Click here to read more about the High Court’s proceedings.