Court not allows closing case over pressure on Cherkassy judge

Дата: 30 March 2015
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The Oleksandrivka District Court in Kirovohrad region repealed the resolution of the Prosecutor’s Office of Cherkasy region on the closure of the criminal proceedings under Part 2, Article 376 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (interference with the work of the court).

Investigating judge Olha Otian ruled that the pre-trial investigation was carried out not in full, the Human Rights Information Centre correspondent reports.

Deputy head of the investigation department of the Prosecutor’s Office of Cherkasy region Vyacheslav Zhykharev came to the premature conclusion about the absence of elements of a criminal offense without conducting the necessary investigation to determine the circumstances of the case, and, therefore, the resolution is repealed,” reads the court’s ruling.

The judge noted that the motion of judge Serhiy Bondarenko to change the jurisdiction of the case was not solved on the merits, the interrogation of witnesses, head of the Court of Appeal Volodymyr Babenko and Chief of Staff Olena Striletska, was conducted superficially without clarifying the circumstances, referred to by the aggrieved party. The court ordered to conduct additional interrogation of those witnesses.

The Court also found that the investigation had interrogated the judges of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region as witnesses without the aggrieved party in violation of Part 6, Article 223 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which is why “their testimonies do not fully reflect the actual circumstances.” Judge Olha Otian believes that it is not necessary to re-interrogate the witnesses on the already established facts.

However, in case the aggrieved party files motion to conduct the additional interrogation of the witnesses on additional issues, which had not been clarified in the course of the main interrogation, and the motion is granted, the interrogation of these individuals shall be conducted in the presence of Serhiy Bondarenko,” reads the court’s ruling.

The court obliged the prosecutor’s office to gain access to the documents that indicate the grounds for the use of Toyota Camry CA9955ВН by the Court of Appeal. As a reminder, judge Serhiy Bondarenko describes the use of the car as the improper advantage for Head of the Court Volodymyr Babenko from the PJSC Azot owned by Dmitry Firtash.

Judge Olha Otian draws attention in her ruling that Serhiy Bondarenko required checking the link between arson of his Mitsubishi Outlander car and stay of unknown persons outside his apartment and his work and interference with his activities by the officials of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region, but the appropriate actions were taken.

The challenged resolution indicates that any link between the actions of officials of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region and the arson attack on the car of the applicant and detention of the unknown persons near his apartment was not established. However, no checks were conducted. Therefore, the investigator should obtain the information from the law enforcement agencies to investigate those complaints by Serhiy Bondarenko. In case the information about involvement in this criminal proceeding is obtained during the interrogation of these persons, the investigator should interrogate them as witnesses and decide on the merger of proceedings,” reads the ruling of the Oleksandrivsky District Court.

As for the issue of admissibility of the recorded conversation with Head of the Court of Appeal Volodymyr Babenko as the evidence, the court noted that it had no authority to resolve this issue.

As a reminder, March 24, during the court hearing at the Oleksandrivsky District Court, judge of the Court of Appeal Serhiy Bondarenko said he had been experienced longstanding and systematic pressure, put by Head of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region Volodymyr Babenko and Chief of Staff Olena Striletska.

March 27, 2014, lawyer Roman Maselko posted on Facebook an audio recording, on which allegedly the voice of Head of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region Volodymyr Babenko in a conversation with judge of the court Serhiy Bondarenko warns against delivering a lawful judgment in the case of PJSC Azot versus teacher of Cherkasy school No.6 A.A. Yashan, whom a private company was trying to evict from the working premises.

At the briefing in Cherkasy on March 30, Volodymyr Babenko said that the audio recording was made up of cuts and he did not remember he had threatened judge Serhiy Bondarenko.

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