Monitoring the case of Anatoly Hranovskiy (session 02.11.2020)

On February 11, 2020, in the Zhytomyrsky District Court, a preparatory hearing was held in the case of A. Hranovsky, accused of violating traffic safety rules or operating vehicles by persons driving vehicles that caused the death 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.

In the indictment, the investigation established that:

On September 22, 2019 A. Hranovsky, driving a technically sound road train as part of a specialized cargo truck with a tank semi-trailer, exceeding the safe speed, moved along the right lane of the Kiev-Chop road in the direction of Zhytomyr. Incorrectly assessing the traffic situation, having the technical ability to prevent collisions from the moment of detecting an obstacle to traffic, he hit a rear left side of the bus, which, being parked, was not moving on the right side of the road and partially the right lane of the roadway in the direction of traffic to the city of Zhitomir.

As a result of the accident, nine passengers of the bus received serious bodily injuries, as a result of which they died. In addition eight people received moderate injuries.

A brief chronology of the case.

On September 24, 2019, at a public hearing in the Korolevsky district court of Zhytomir, at the request of the prosecution, a measure of restraint in the form of 60-day detention was chosen for the suspect. The suspect in the court session confirmed his involvement in the accident, as a result of which people were killed and injured, pleaded guilty to the incident, but asked to apply measures of restraint in the form of house arrest, which he was denied.

According to the principles of territorial jurisdiction (part 1 of article 32 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine), consideration of this proceedings was transferred to the Novograd-Volynsky district court of the Zhytomyr region. Then, at the request of the prosecutor, the Zhytomyr Court of Appeal “in order to ensure the speed, efficiency of criminal proceedings and the observance of reasonable time limits for the consideration of proceedings” decided to transfer the specified criminal proceedings to the Zhytomyr District Court of the Zhytomyr Region.

The course of the proceedings.

On February 11, 2020, a preparatory hearing in the case took place in the Zhytomyr District Court. At the beginning of the court session, the court examined applications for recognition of persons as victims in this case. The judge also drew attention to the fact that persons who have not received moderate bodily injuries cannot act as victims, but only in the status of civil plaintiffs. The trial was attended by three representatives of the victims.

The prosecutor filed an application to challenge one of the defenders – S. Egorov. He also acted as a representative of the civil defendant in this case – LLC “Petrov Logistic.”

In his statement, the prosecutor indicated that during the pre-trial investigation, the victims filed civil claims against the “Petrov Logistic”, which is the employer of the accused, for compensation for moral and material damage. The CPC of Ukraine contains requirements, one of which is the right to a fair trial and effective legal defense of the accused. According to Art. 78 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, a defender and representative cannot be a person who takes part in criminal proceedings as a civil defendant. In part 2 of this article, it is stipulated that a person cannot be a defender and representative if in this proceeding he gives legal assistance to a person whose interests contradict the interests of the person who requested legal assistance. The prosecutor focused the court’s attention on the fact that if lawyer Egorov has two procedural statuses at the same time, this can be perceived as a violation of the right to defense of A. Hranovsky and the interests of the accused and civil defendant may compete. The prosecutor also noted that since the lawyer Egorov primarily acquired the status of the defender of the accused, he should satisfy the challenge as a participant in the criminal proceedings as a representative of the civil defendant.

Lawyer Egorov pointed out that his position regarding the representation of interests of “Petrov Logistic” is fully consistent with his client and does not contradict the interests of “Petrov Logistic”. The defendant also supported the position of his counsel.

The court found that in this criminal proceeding damages can be recovered from both the accused and the civil defendant as the employer. Moreover, according to part 1 of article 1191 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, in the presence of fault of the person who caused the damage, the person who is responsible for the damage acquires the right of the return claim (recourse) in respect of the guilty person in the amount of the compensation paid.

In view of the foregoing, the court concluded that the interests of “Petrov Logistic” may be contrary to the interests of the accused in terms of his established guilt with the possibility of further submission of regressive claims, which, in turn, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine excludes the participation of lawyer Egorov in this case at the same time as counsel and representative of a civil defendant. The court granted the prosecutor’s application to dismiss Egorov as a representative of the civil defendant, and thus the civil defendant will have to look for a new representative.

After the court decision was announced, lawyer Egorov suggested that the court postpone the preparatory hearing in order to enable the civil defendant to ensure the presence of another representative at the hearing.

The judge drew attention to the fact that according to Art. 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the case must be examined in accordance with the principle of reasonable time. As the measure of restraint in the form of detention was applied to the accused and according to the presumption of innocence, he is innocent until the conviction has come into force, the court considers it necessary to consider such cases in the first place.

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

The next hearing will be held on March 03, 2020 at 2:00 pm.