This happened in in 2004, in Germany, in a very small town. I don’t speak the language and relied on my English speaking lawyer and my bilingual gf.
On the night before the court date, my lawyer told me he wouldn’t represent me anymore because the strategy i wanted to pursue would create damages and he didn’t want to be a part of it. To make a long story short, it would question the skills and reliability of two city workers.
I showed up in court, no lawyer, I explained what happened and asked for a continuation and the judge refused. So the whole proceedings happened without me having a lawyer present. There was a semi fluent translator present for me. Then an expert witness was present and essentially delivered a testimony against me, which, in my eyes didn’t make sense. The whole then happened very quickly and I lost the case.
As time passed and more people talked, it turns out that, in this small city, everyone knows everyone, went to school together, etc. One policeman even told me that even though I’m right, I can’t win the case in that locality.
More than 10 years passed and the expert witness contacted me via a very long letter explaining me that he lied in the testimony because he was engaged in a relation with the plaintiff. He said he felt remorseful and manipulated.. in practice their relation fell apart and he decided it would be a good time to tell the truth.
This whole ordeal ended up with a bill of roughly €70k of court ordered payements. Since the judgement was obviously a joke, and I had gone back to California, I never paid anything.
This resulted in an arrest warrant in Germany; I eventually went back to another EU country where Germany tried to collect money, but failed, as in face of the new evidence, the local court didn’t want to apply the German judgement.
Now.. I will need soon to go to Germany, so I talked to a lawyer. I was told me that it’s too late to modify the judgement and the only thing I can do is negotiate a payment plan. As the proof from the expert witness came a decade later, it can’t be used.
Obviously, I find the whole ordeal infuriating because I do not understand how evidence can be willfully ignored, but not the penalties.
Are there any precedents, in German law, where new evidence came very late and would invalidate a judgment?