On October 15, 2020, the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Kharkov held a hearing in case No. 644/192/18 on charges of I.A. Bliznyuk, A.O. Golovkin, Yu.M. Khlapovsky. (part 1 of article 255, part 4 of article 28, part 3 of article 146, part 4 of article 28, part 4 of article 189, part 1 of article 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). According to information published in the media, the defendants were engaged in illegal actions such as torture, extortion, etc.
The court session was held with the participation of the prosecutor, the accused and their defenders. The victims and their representatives did not appear at the hearing. Despite this, the parties considered it possible to hold the hearing without them.
Written evidence was examined at this hearing. At the beginning of the hearing, a discussion arose about the protocol of presentation for identification, which indicated that the witness identified the accused from photographs, but earlier, during interrogation in the trial, he indicated the opposite. The prosecutor announced her intention to file a motion to re-examine the witness. The defense expressed the opinion that before being interrogated in court, the witness took an oath and in the courtroom none of the parties exerted pressure on him, and at the stage of the pre-trial investigation the possibility of pressure from the investigator is not excluded. Therefore, the testimony of a witness in court has more weight than the protocol of presentation for identification.
Also, at the hearing, the prosecutor filed as documents the decisions on the appointment of examinations in the specified criminal proceedings and the protocols of taking samples for examinations. The prosecutor motivated her decision by the fact that these documents prove the legality of conducting expert examinations in criminal proceedings and the admissibility of the expert’s conclusions. The panel of judges drew the attention of the prosecution to the fact that these documents do not prove the circumstances and facts specified in the indictment, and the defense does not dispute the legality of the examination. The lawyers and the defendants confirmed that they had no doubts about the observance of the procedure for conducting expert examinations.
Also, the prosecutor submitted an expert opinion that it was Golovkin A.O. who used the car. The defense stated that it does not dispute this circumstance. The court noted that the inclusion of the mentioned expert opinion is meaningless, since this circumstance is not disputed by any of the parties.
It can be assumed that the provision of this kind of evidence to the court has the goal of either delaying the proceeding, or maximizing the number of volumes of the case, complicating it.
It should be noted that the indictment against Bliznyuk I.A., Golovkin A.O., Khlapovsky Yu.M. entered the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Kharkov on January 11, 2018. Thus, the trial in this criminal proceeding lasts almost 3 years. Court sessions are scheduled once a month (summarized information). This case has been monitored since March 2020. In fact, all court sessions are devoted to the issue of extending the terms of a measure of restraint for the accused, but in fact the case is not considered. Back in the report for March 11, 2020, the representative of the ISHR indicated that the case was at the stage of examining the evidence. And only today, October 15, 2020, the participants in the proceeding began to study the evidence. This is a positive dynamic in the case, but it cannot neutralize previous negative trends in the aspect of the implementation of the requirement to consider the case within a reasonable time.
Art. 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms recognizes for every person prosecuted in a criminal case the right to receive, within a reasonable time, a final decision on the validity of the charge against him, or rather, the achievement of ensuring that the accused do not remain for a long time under the weight of the charge and that a decision is made on the validity of the charge (“Vemkhov v. Germany”, paragraph 18, “Julia Manzoni v. Italy”, paragraph 25, “Brogan and Others v. United Kingdom” paragraph 65).
In its judgments, the ECtHR indicates that the accused in criminal proceedings should have the right to have the proceedings in his case carried out with special care, especially in the case of any restriction of freedom for a period until the end of the proceedings. Article 6 of the ECHR requires courts to use all available procedural means to establish the guilt or innocence of a person without delay. This requirement is intended to ensure the earliest elimination of uncertainty regarding the legal fate of the accused, who remains in a state of uncertainty throughout the entire period of proceedings, despite the fact that the proceedings are ongoing or have been suspended (“Doroshenko v. Ukraine”, paragraph 41).
The positive thing during the trial was that the defendants were next to the defense lawyer during the trial, and not in the glass boxes. It is worth noting that the courts more often are observing the implementation of the right of the accused to effective legal assistance and satisfy the request of the accused to be seated next to a lawyer.
The next court hearing is scheduled for October 21, 2020.