Czech appeals court upholds Randy Blythe’s acquittal

A Czech appeals court has upheld Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe’s acquittal.

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Update #29 — June 5, 2013; 10:09 AM

According to the AP, a Czech appeals court has upheld Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe’s acquittal.

Earlier this year (see below) Blythe was found innocent of manslaughter charges stemming from the death of a fan at a 2010 Lamb of God show in Prague.

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Update #28 — March 5, 2013; 8:32 AM

Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe was today acquitted of manslaughter by three judges in Prague. The charges relate to the death of fan following a 2010 Lamb of God show in the Czech Capital after that fan was allegedly pushed off the stage by Blythe (see below)

Judges deferred requests by the victim’s family for compensatory damages to civil court.

In the last day of the trial, biomechanics expert George Straus testified on behalf of the defense that victim Daniel Nosek couldn’t rotate his body 180 degrees and land on his head after being pushed from the stage, as the prosecution contends. Straus also testified that Nosek couldn’t have been pushed over the first row of spectators, but would have to actively jump over them on his own accord.

But in closing arguments, prosecutors reaffirmed their stance that Blythe was responsible for Nosek’s death and asked that judges sentence Blythe to five years in prison.

Nosek’s family is also seeking 10 million Czech korunas (roughly $500,000) in compensatory damages from Blythe.

Before the verdict, Blythe addressed the court.

“I still believe that I have acted reasonably to protect” myself, the band, and the audience, Blythe said. “If I am guilty, I will take it like a man. If I am released, [Lamb of God] will take such precautions” to ensure similar events never happen at concerts.

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Update #27 — March 5, 2013; 7:36 AM

The Gauntlet is reporting that Randy Blythe has been found not guilty. The band’s official twitter account also tweeted that their lead singer is now free:

 

More as it develops.

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Update #26 — March 5, 2013; 6:30 AM

A message from Randy Blythe, posted this morning on [his Instagram account][1]:

It’s a beautiful morning in Prague, & time for me to go to what is (hopefully) my final day in court here- supposedly judgement will be passed today & I will move on with my life in one direction or the other. Which direction that is, I do not know. I could walk free, or conversely go to prison for up to ten years. Such is my life right now, & I must stay in this moment until its resolution. Whatever happens to me, do not feel sorry for me, for I am at peace & refuse to feel sorry for myself. Life happens. Deal with it. Some people cannot understand why I have returned, saying I should not come back here. KNOW THIS, & mark my words well- it would be absolutely intolerable for me to hide from this situation. I am an innocent man, but a family suffers the loss of a son, a fan of my band. That is what this whole thing is truly about, not prison, not money, not politics, not ME- it is about a young man who lost his life at just 19 years of age. He will never come back, & it breaks my heart. I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that I did not behave honorably & try to give his family some answers. That would be disgraceful, and I do not wish to dishonor myself or my family by acting in such a cowardly manner. I was raised to face my problems head on. For me, this is BEING A MAN. I categorically refuse to live in a constant state of guilt & fear. I would rather die. My morality & convictions are not dependent upon unforeseeable circumstance, nor malleable when difficulty arises. So I walk this morning to court with my head held high, no matter what others opinions of me may be. I have to face myself in the mirror, & tomorrow morning, where ever I may wake up, I will be able to do that without regret. This is THE ONLY path to true freedom for me- peace within myself. This is the manner in which I choose to try my best to live my life, & I hope you all do the same- do your best to do what is right, no matter how difficult it may be. I promise you, this will bring you peace. I thank you all for your support, I wish you all a good day, & to quote one of my favorite movies: STRENGTH AND HONOR.

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Update #25 — March 4, 2013; 10:52 AM

Randy Blythe’s manslaughter trial resumed today in Prague after a near month-long hiatus (see below).

A court expert testified that Blythe “may have some antisocial personality traits,” highlighting Blythe’s previous citations and fines for speeding and public disobedience, according to The Gauntlet.

But subsequent testimony from a psychiatrist stated that Blythe “didn’t meet several of the conditions for antisocial personality disorder.”

Later, a female fan who was in the front row during the 2010 Prague concert testified that she saw Blythe “push [victim] Daniel Nosek with a lot of force on the shoulders off the stage.”

Blythe’s lawyers filed an expert brief on body mechanics to explain the victim’s injuries after being thrown from the stage. The prosecutor, Vladimir Muzik, objected to the brief, and reports are unclear as to whether the judges accepted it.

Tomorrow, a last witness for Blythe’s defense is scheduled to testify. Both sides will then make closing statements, followed by a chance for Blythe to address the court.

Judges are expected to issue a verdict tomorrow. If guilty, Blythe could face up to 10 years in prison.

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Update #24 — February 7, 2013; 10:01 AM

The fourth day of Randy Blythe’s trial in Prague lasted roughly 45 minutes as Blythe’s lawyers called just one person to testify.

The witness, Lukas Havlena, attended the 2010 concert in the Czech capital during which a fan sustained fatal injuries. Havlena testified that Blythe did not act aggressively on stage–as the prosecution contends. He also said Blythe indicated throughout the concert that fans weren’t allowed on the stage (the victim, Daniel Nosek, was allegedly pushed off the stage by Blythe).

The trial will be postponed until March 4th due to an ill witness and two criminal psychologists who were unable to testify this week.

Blythe indicated that he would return to America during the break, but vowed to return to Prague next month.

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Update #23 — February 6, 2013; 10:46 AM

In the third day of Randy Blythe’s manslaughter trial in Prague, witness testimony largely refuted what was said yesterday by the friends of victim Daniel Nosek regarding what transpired during the 2010 concert in Prague.

For instance, at least one previous witnesses claimed Randy Blythe choked another fan, Milan Poranek, during the concert. It appears prosecutors have used that testimony to depict Blythe as an “aggressive” presence on stage.

However, Poranek repudiated that accusation.

“I wanted to stage dive and Blythe pulled me to the ground and held me there as I was very drunk,” Poranek said. “He [Blythe] did it because of the way I acted, and he was right.” Poranek said Blythe did not choke him.

Another concertgoer testified that nothing unusually violent happened during the 2010 show, contrary to what prosecutors have argued. “Heavy metal bands are always trying to look angry on stage,” the witness said. “What happened did not look serious at all.”

The trial will proceed tomorrow, but will then be postponed until March 4th due to a witness being ill.

Blythe will be allowed to return home during the break.

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Update #22 — February 5, 2013; 9:36 AM

In the second day of Randy Blythe’s manslaughter trial, three friends of the deceased 2010 concert-goer, Daniel Nosek (see below), testified that the Lamb of God singer shoved Nosek from the stage.

“He [Randy Blythe] pushed him off the stage,” said one friend who testified. “Dan fell on the back of his head. After the concert was over, something wasn’t right about Daniel and we called an ambulance.”

Reports indicated that each of the three friends differed in their versions of that night’s events. But each denied that an announcement by the venue, prior to the concert, explicitly prohibited attendees from scaling barricades and the stage.

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Update #21 — February 4, 2013; 1:54 PM

Randy Blythe’s manslaughter trial in the Czech Republic began today in a Prague courtroom as the Lamb of God frontman testified before three judges.1 They will decide whether Blythe was involved in the accidental death of a fan who died from sustained injuries during a 2010 Lamb of God concert in the Czech capital.

In his testimony, Blythe criticized concert security and reiterated that he did not push the victim, 19-year-old Daniel Nosek, off the stage (see below).

“I never saw Mr. Nosek or came into contact with him,” said Blythe to the lead judge.

Later in the day, the court heard from Lamb of God drummer, Chris Adler, and the band’s manager, Larry Mazer, each of whom complimented Blythe’s character.

Tomorrow, the court is expected to hear from 12 witnesses who attended the 2010 concert. The trial is expected to last until the end of the week. If convicted, Blythe could face up 10 years in prison. In addition, Nosek’s family is also seeking roughly $530,000 in compensation.

And from WTVR, an interview with a journalist in Prague covering the trial:

 

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Update #21 – December 3rd, 3:47 PM

On November 30th, the State Prosecutor’s Office in Prague officially indicted Lamb of God vocalist, Randy Blythe, on manslaughter charges, this according to Czech Republic news website, Novinky.cz. Judges of the Municipal Court now have three months to set a trial date, or return the indictment to prosecutors for review. The official indictment means that Blythe will likely stand trial in the near future.

Blythe was released from Prague on bail in August, and has vowed to return to the Czech capital to face trial if needed. If convicted of the manslaughter charges, Blythe faces five to 10 years in prison.

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Update #20 – August 7th, 7:15 AM

Yesterday morning, Randy Blythe posted the following statement on the official Lamb of God Facebook:

Greetings. This is D. Randall Blythe, checking in from my beloved hometown of Richmond, VA, United States of America. I was recently released on bail from Pankrác Prison in Prague, Czech Republic, after over a month of incarceration. Now that I am out for the moment, I would like to say a few things.

1. While in prison, I had minimal knowledge of how my case was viewed anywhere but the Czech Republic. I was told by my attorney that I had a lot support from peers in the music industry, my hometown, fans, and of course my family. I cannot express how emotional it made me upon my release to read about even a fraction of the voices that were raised on my behalf. From legends in my music community, to fans across the world, and even people who were previously unaware of my existence but sympathized with my plight- I am truly humbled. I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers. I would especially like to thank the people of Richmond, VA, for standing by me. In the 48 hours I have been home, many people I have never met before have stopped me on the street, waved and smiled as I passed by, or said hello in a restaurant. All have said “We are glad you are home, Randy”. You all make me proud and grateful that I call Richmond home.

2. I would like state that I suffered no abuse, from either authorities or inmates, during my incarceration in Pankrác. I received no special treatment, and was in general population with everyone else- make no mistake, it was prison, not some celebrity rehab tv show. But I was treated fairly by the guards and kindly by my fellow inmates. People are dying of starvation all over the world. Men and women are losing their lives daily in the Middle East and other war torn regions. I had food, clothes, shelter, and no one was trying to kill me. I cannot complain over a short stay in prison while many people elsewhere fight to survive on a daily basis.

3. If it is deemed necessary for me to do so, I WILL return to Prague to stand trial. While I maintain my innocence 100%, and will do so steadfastly, I will NOT hide in the United States, safe from extradition and possible prosecution. As I write this, the family of a fan of my band suffers through the indescribably tragic loss of their child. They have to deal with constantly varying media reports about the circumstances surrounding his death. I am charged with maliciously causing severe bodily harm to this young man, resulting in his death. While I consider the charge leveled against me ludicrous and without qualification, my opinion makes no difference in this matter. The charge exists, and for the family of this young man, questions remain. The worst possible pain remains. It is fairly common knowledge amongst fans of my band that I once lost a child as well. I, unfortunately, am intimately familiar with what their pain is like. Therefore, I know all too well that in their time of grief, this family needs and deserves some real answers, not a media explosion followed by the accused killer of their son hiding like a coward thousands of miles away while they suffer. I am a man. I was raised to face my problems head on, not run from them like a petulant child. I hope that justice is done, and the family of Daniel N. will receive the closure they undoubtably need to facilitate healing. I feel VERY STRONGLY that as an adult, it would be both irresponsible and immoral for me not to return to Prague if I am summoned. This is not about bail money. This is about a young man who lost his life. I will act with honor, and I will fight to clear my good name in this matter. Thank you for reading this, and I wish you all peace.

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Update #18 – August 3rd, 2:35 PM

Nova.cz has a video interview with Blythe before he left the Czech Republic for the United States:

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Update #17 – August 3rd, 10:30 AM

From Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler’s Facebook page, updates on the bands tour schedule:

Although LAMB OF GOD has cancelled their summer co-headline tour with Dethklok, the band has agreed to play the KNOTFEST shows on August 17th in Council Bluffs, Iowa and August 18th in Somerset, Wisconsin.

The band is currently targeting October 26th as the start date for a U.S tour. Dates and cities will be released as soon as possible. Randy will be making a public statement discussing his time in Prague and thanking fans worldwide for their support in the next week.

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Update #16 – August 3rd, 9:15 AM

According to several sources (the AP and the Czech news organization Blesk) Randy Blythe has been released from the Prague prison where he’s been held for the last month. The Google Translate of Blesk seems to suggest that Blythe has already borded a plane headed for New York:

The court decided to release on Thursday about 16 hours. Thus believed that the Blythe will avoid criminal prosecution. Randy Blythe immediately after his release he flew to the U.S. On Friday at one o’clock in the afternoon came in direct line to New York and gave the Czech Republic goodbye.

The band’s official twitter had this to say:

Blythe’s legal status (and the status of Lamb of God’s tour) remains unclear.

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Update #15 – July 26th, 11:10 AM

Lamb of God has cancelled its upcoming tour as Randy Blythe remains in prison. Here’s a statement from the group:

“Due to the continued incarceration of LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic, the band’s co-headline tour with DETHKLOK scheduled to begin August 1 in Seattle has been canceled. LAMB OF GOD regrets the decision but the uncertainty of Randy’s release makes it impossible to carry on with the tour. Upon Randy’s release, it is the band’s intention to rebook a tour in the fall and at this time the band fully intends to participate in the Mayhem Cruise in December.

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Update #14 – July 25th, 1:00 PM

The Gauntlet is reporting that Randy Blythe has, yet again, been denied bail.

What happens now is that on Friday (July 27, 2012), the prosecutor will be back before the judge to give reason for the bail denial. At that point, the judge has five days to rule, and another five days for it to be written or published to the court. The judges ruling at this point will be final and unless charges are formally filed, Randy will be free to leave the Czech Republic without condition on bail.

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Update #13 – July 21st, 8:51 PM

Radio Prague has posted an interview (in English!) with Randy Blythe’s Czech attorney, Martin Radvan. The attorney expects that Blythe will be released on bail soon and will be able to leave the country.

We are now waiting for his release because the band has already collected the additional 200,000 dollars, and only due to long travel time between the Prague Municipal Court and the court for Prague 8, we are still waiting. Otherwise, he should have already been released…

…Everything indicates that he will be allowed to travel home. But he will have to come back either for further investigation or the trial, and that’s what he wants to do.

You can listen to or read the full interview here.

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Update #12 – July 17th, 3:28 PM

Czech news site iDNES reports (as well as metal/hardcore news site The PRP) that Randy Blythe’s bail has been increased to $400,000. Along with this increase comes more opportunities for prosecutors to delay Blythe’s release.

The PRP implies that today’s bail decision came from a closed session that was previously scheduled for Thursday. It’s unclear at this time whether the Thursday panel will still happen.

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Update #11 – July 17th, 1:43 PM

Czech newspaper, Blesk, is reporting that they have the first in-person interview with Randy Blythe since his imprisonment. You can have a go at the Google Translator version, or you can read below to get the gist of the interview (translation provided by @Fuggled, hooray internet!):

What do you remember about the concert at Abaton?

I don’t know anything about any incident. I don’t remember much because we play so many concerts

How do you spend your time in prison and what do you think about your fellow inmates?

I read, write letters to friends, family, I am writing a diary. My fellow inmates are very nice, I am teaching a Mongolian to speak English. I am beginning to write a book about Pankrac prison and writing songs.

Do you have any reservations about the Czech police and justice system regarding your case?

They are very professional and follow the code of conduct properly. Of course with regard to the justice system I don’t understand it, it is different from the American system. I thought that when the bail was paid I would be released. I don’t understand how my case can be qualified as such, given that our aim is to please the audience

On Wednesday you met with your wife, are your family and fans supporting you?

My meeting with my wonderful wife was beautiful and encouraging. I received lots of messages from family, friends of the band, who miss me a lot and are looking forward to seeing me again.

You have paid the bail, what are your plans when you are freed?

If I can return to the USA, I need to mow the lawn, obviously spend time with my family, and go back to playing concerts, help my friends earn their living, we have to live. If I have to stay in the Czech Republic I want to see famous places, walk where Kafka walked, and eat “knedliky” (a Czech type of dumpling, though the word dumpling doesn’t do them any justice)

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Update #10 – July 12th, 11:50 PM

The Gauntlet (which, while they have been leading the coverage of Blythe’s imprisonment, should be taken with a grain of salt) reports that Randy Blythe will go before a three-judge panel next Thursday (July 19th) in his third attempt to make bail.

Earlier this week Blythe’s wife joined him in the Czech Republic for the first time since his arrest on June 28th.

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Update #9 – July 9th, 1:45 PM

The PRP is reporting that Czech prosectors have filed a complaint to block Blythe’s release on bail, bail which he has already paid.

At this point, Blythe has spent 11 days in jail.

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Update #8 – July 6th, 11:00 AM

Here’s Lamb of God’s (first) official statement on Blythe’s arrest:

First of all, thanks to everyone who has reached out in support of Randy and each of us in this terrible situation. It’s noted and very much appreciated.

We have been keeping our heads down and not speaking out due to the fluid nature of the situation and the constantly changing information that even we receive daily.

Within an hour things can do endless 180’s. It’s maddening to try and make heads or tails.

We’re taking the time to speak to you as it has been a significant period of time since this situation began and while nothing is immediately clear to any of us, we are not trying to keep anyone in the dark.

We have reached out and are making use of the resources we have acquired to help our brother who is still detained in Czech jail.

In the two years since, we were never notified of anything related to this incident.

Randy is our brother and we assure you, we are all staying very positive for him, working endlessly behind the scenes to provide any and all assistance possible.

The best we can do is to stay positive and continue to support our friend that we know is innocent.

We know that justice will prevail and we will continue to do our part to support our friend. Lamb of God

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Update #7 – July 6th, 6:26 AM

This Sunday (July 8th) at 1:00 PM on Brown’s Island, Lamb of God fans will gather for a picnic / show of support for Randy Blythe.

Another way fans can get involved is by donating money towards the band’s currently mounting legal fees. Lamb of God has retained Czech legal council, support from the US Embassy, and is flying over more lawyers. Any surplus funds will be donated to a charity of Blythe’s choosing.

Also, Prague’s English-language paper, The Prague Post, has a good story with some quotes from Blythe’s lawyer (including this one: “The whole thing is a crock of shit”).

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Update #6 – July 4th, 9:00 AM

A quick update on yesterday’s news that Blythe would remain in jail for an undetermined amount of time. The combination of bank holidays, the weekend, and the timing of the Czech legal process will most likely delay Blythe’s release on bail until Monday at the earliest.

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Update #5 – July 3rd, 7:30 AM

A few sources are reporting that Blythe must now stay in Pankrác Prison, while his bail money is transfered. Once Blythe is released he may be forced to remain in the Czech Republic for some time. Details are few, confusing, and mostly in Czech.

In the meantime, GWAR front man Oderus Urungus / Dave Brockie condemned the entertainment community for failing to support Blythe:

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Update #4 – July 1st, 8:27 AM

Exclaim.ca is reporting that Blythe has been released on bail (about $200,000). Additionally, the Czech television station, TV Nova, has video (at about the 0:55 mark) of Blythe and a security officer removing a fan from the stage during a performance. Apparently this is the incident in question, and the fan later died of an injury sustained during the show.

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Update #3 – June 30th, 9:26 AM

Early this morning the official Lamb of God twitter announced that there would be a court hearing scheduled for today. Shortly thereafter Lamb of God guitarist, Mark Morton, tweeted this:

More details as they develop.

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Update #2 – June 29th, 11:18 AM

Maria Ferrero of Adrenaline PR, the company that represents Lamb of God, released this statement:

Lamb of God management will be issuing an official statement on Monday regarding the charges made against singer Randy Blythe. As no formal charges have yet been made and the case is only in the investigation stages, it would be premature to make an official statement filled with false truths or innuendos.

Having said that, management wished to address today one false piece of information that has been included in many of the news stories released so far. Under no circumstances was there a fight of any kind involved. This incident deals with a fan that three times during the concert jumped the barricade and rushed Randy during the performance. It is alleged that the third time, security was not able to reach him and that Randy pushed him back into the audience where supposedly he fell and hit his head.

Again, until the investigation is concluded this weekend, nothing more will be released, but clarity and the facts needed to be addressed on this one reported point which is totally inaccurate.

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Update #1 – June 29th, 9:00 AM

An update from Lamb of God’s twitter account:

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Original – June 28th, 8:30 PM

Metal Insider is reporting that Lamb of God’s lead singer, Randy Blythe, has been arrested in Prague on charges of manslaughter. The charges stem from a 2010 incident in Prague when Blythe got into an altercation with a fan during a show. The man later apparently died.

However:

Lamb of God’s longtime publicity firm Adrenaline PR commented that Blythe has been “wrongfully accused, lawyers are dealing with it, and we expect him to be fully exonerated.”

Lamb of God was scheduled to play the Rock Café in Prague today. The show was canceled.

More details as the situation develops.

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Footnotes

  1. There is no trial-by-jury in the Czech Republic judicial system. 
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