State Prosecutor Objects To Ex-Con Lawyer Getting Trial Rights - The Reykjavik Grapevine

State Prosecutor Objects To Ex-Con Lawyer Getting Trial Rights

Published January 21, 2016

Photos by
Gúndi

A lawyer who was recently released from prison for murder wants the right to take part in trials again, but the State Prosecutor’s office objects.

RÚV reports that the State Prosecutor’s office does not want to see former lawyer Atli Helgason receive the right to participate in trial proceedings. While the Icelandic Bar Association has said that they want Atli to take the bar exam again in order to receive this right, Atli’s lawyer, Björgvin Jónsson, told reporters he believes Atli having his professional reputation restored suffices.

As reported, Atli Helgason was found guilty of homicide 15 years ago and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. The case was high-profile, given the nature of the crime, which included Atli taking part in the search for the victim, Einar Örn Birgisson. The search party also included members of Einar’s own family.

Atli was released in 2010, and has since been working to have his professional reputation restored (Icel. “uppreist æru”). A professional reputation, in this context, has more of a legal meaning than a literal one. Having a clean professional reputation is a requirement for some types of public office, and for being a trial lawyer, to name two examples.

Legal expert Hulda María Stefánsdóttir explained that one can have their professional reputation restored, even for serious crimes such as Atli’s, provided they fulfill certain requirements. If, for example, one is released from prison and waits five years before filing the request, their professional reputation is automatically restored.

The proceedings over whether or not he will receive the right to take part in trial proceedings commence on February 1.


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