Monitoring the case of Anatoly Hranovskiy (session 03.03.2020)

March 3, 2020 in the Zhytomyr District Court, a preparatory hearing was held in the case of Hranovskiy A. accused of violating traffic safety rules or using vehicles by persons driving vehicles that resulted in the deaths of several persons (part 3 of article 286 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). At the time of the trial, the accused was in custody.

The course of the hearing.

The trial was attended by another prosecutor from a group of prosecutors in this investigation. Due to the absence of a civil defendant, the prosecutor asked the court to postpone the preparatory hearing. However, the prosecution requested a review of the application for the continued detention of the accused, as the period of detention expires before the agreed date of the next trial. The lawyer supported the position of the prosecutor regarding the adjournment of the court session, since in his opinion it would be inappropriate to continue the consideration of the case without a civil defendant.

The prosecutor believes that they have all reasonable risks regarding the extension of the measure of restraint to the accused. Justifying his claim by the fact that there are a large number of victims who are currently not questioned, the trial has not begun, and no indictment has been announced. Evidence has not been investigated, and the accused, if not held in custody, may affect the change in evidence. In addition, there are risks to hide from the court and the defendant’s failure to appear at court hearings, which will impede the consideration of this criminal proceeding. The victims and their representatives also supported the prosecutor’s request.

In the process of considering the application for an extension of the measure of restraint in the form of detention, the defense said that the risks indicated by the prosecutor are not enough to extend the exceptional measure of restraint to A. Hranovskiy.

As the European Court has repeatedly noted in its decisions, when raising the question of extending a measure of restraint, not only the risks that existed at the time the measure of restraint was assigned should be given, but also new risks that could affect in any way the circumstances referred to by the prosecutor. Since the victims were questioned during the pre-trial investigation, their testimonies were recorded and can no longer be changed, and the accused cannot influence the evidence either, the lawyer believes that the prosecutor’s request is not substantiated.

In addition, the lawyer stated that the accused has strong social ties, a permanent place of work and residence in Ukraine. Therefore, the defender petitioned for a more lenient measure of restraint in the form of house arrest using an electronic means of control.

The observer of the International Society for Human Rights considers it necessary to note an exceptionally attentive approach to resolving the issue of choosing a measure of restraint in relation to A. Khranovsky. The judge asked the prosecutor to clarify the risk of influence on the victims and witnesses indicated by him and indicated that: “We have almost 30 witnesses and one accused, is he a criminal boss?”, also asked about the composition of the accused’s family, his place of residence and work, specified whether he has dependents and whether he was previously convicted.

After deliberation in the deliberation room, the court ruled. According to Article 183 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, detention is an exceptional measure of restraint, which is applied only if the prosecutor proves that a milder measure of restraint cannot prevent the risks provided for in Article 177 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The court found the arguments of the prosecutor regarding the influence of the accused on the victims and witnesses unfounded. Also, the prosecutor cited the risks of distorting the evidence of the prosecution, but the evidence of the prosecution is retained by the prosecution, which excludes the possibility of influencing them.

The only risk that the court considered justified is the risk of hiding from the trial. This risk is justified by the severity of the punishment that threatens the accused, the lack of dependents, and the presence of a passport that has not been handed over. Also, the civil defendant in this criminal proceeding is his employer and may be an interested party. Given the above, as well as a significant public interest, the possibility of considering the proceedings in this case within a reasonable time, the court considers that none of the milder measures of restraint can exclude possible risks with a high degree of probability and justify the further detention of the accused. The court extended to the accused A. Hranovskiy a measure of restraint in the form of detention for 60 days until May 1, 2020.

Experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this trial.