On September 24, a regular court session was held in the Gadyachsky District Court of the Poltava Region in the case of the head of the “Visit” television company Alexander Melnik, who is one of the four accused (together with A. Kryzhanovsky, I. Pasichny, I. Kunik) in the case of the murder of the mayor of Kremenchug A. Babayev and the judge of the Kremenchug court A. Lobodenko.
Accused Melnik, Kryzhanovsky and Kunyk have been in custody for more than 5 years. The case has been considered repeatedly from the very beginning in various courts; no sentence has been imposed.
Experts from the International Society for Human Rights have repeatedly pointed out the excessive length of trials in Ukraine, which are often accompanied by detention beyond reasonable time limits. The practice of the European Court of Human Rights indicates that this trend is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, since each extension of detention is possible only “if there are concrete signs of a genuine need to protect the interests of society, which, despite the presumption of innocence, outweigh the principle of respect for individual freedom”, guaranteed by Article 5 of the European Convention (§ 110 “Kudla v. Poland”).
Earlier, on July 13, 2019, the court allowed the prosecution to conduct additional investigative actions involving the accused Pasichny, who, in his sixth year in custody, declared his desire to conclude a plea bargain. After familiarizing all participants with the materials of the investigative actions, the trial was continued.
09.24.2019, the hearing began with the objection of the lawyer Mironov, which is based on the following:
- On September 5, the defense side got acquainted with the protocols of investigative actions with the participation of the accused Pasichny.
- Lawyer Mironov objects to their investigation in court, in view of their apparent inadmissibility. In accordance with Part 2 of Art. 89 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, if it is established that evidence is unacceptable during the trial, the court finds the evidence inadmissible, which entails the impossibility of examining such evidence or stopping its investigation at the hearing if such a study began.
- The defense party considers that the court, when making decisions on the re-examination of the accused Pasichny, after his consent to conclude a plea bargain, went beyond the scope of its powers, as it did not separate the case against the accused Pasichny (from. According to Part 3 of Art. 474 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, if the plea bargain is reached during the judicial review, the court urgently suspends the proceedings and proceeds to the consideration of the plea bargain.
- Additional investigative actions were carried out after the expiration of the period established by the court.
Representatives of the ISHR believe that it is highly advisable to conduct a thorough review of the methods for obtaining evidence.
The quality of the evidence must be taken into account, including whether the circumstances under which it was obtained raise doubts about its reliability or accuracy (ECtHR case of “Dzhallokh v. Germany”, paragraph 96, July 11, 2006).
The objections of the defense are attached to the case; a decision regarding the petition was not made at this court hearing.
Subsequently, the prosecutor requested the adjournment of the case in connection with the need to change the charges. The court granted the request, postponing the consideration until the next day – 09.25.2019.
Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring this trial.