Monitoring of the case of A. Melnik, A. Kryzhanovsky, I. Pasichny, I. Kunik (10.10.19 session)

On October 10, in the Gadyachsky District Court of the Poltava Region, a regular court session was held in the case of the head of the Visit television company Alexander Melnik, who is one of four accused (together with A. Kryzhanovsky, I. Pasichny, I. Kunik) in the case of the murder of the mayor of Kremenchug A. Babayev and judge of the Kremenchug court A. Lobodenko.

It should be noted that all defendants have been in custody since September 2014. Over the course of all five years, several panels of judges were replaced, but the verdict was never passed.

As mentioned earlier, on June 12, 2019, the Gadyachsky District Court of the Poltava region approved the permission for the prosecutor to meet with the accused Pasichny in the Poltava Penitentiary Institution. This petition was not submitted for discussion by the participants in the trial, despite the fact that on the same day session was held on the case.

Moreover, according to paragraph 3 of part 4. Article. 42 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, the accused has the right to express his position in judicial seizing regarding the motions of other participants in the judicial proceedings.

Based on the sanction authorized by the court, the prosecutor visited the accused Pasichny in the pre-trial detention center without the participation of a defense attorney. Accused Pasichny himself claimed that the meeting took place without his attorney. Moreover, according to Part 1 of Art. 52 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, the participation of a defender is mandatory in criminal proceedings regarding particularly serious crimes.

After meeting with the prosecutor, the accused Pasichny informed the court about his desire to conclude a plea bargain. Subsequently, the court allowed the prosecution to conduct additional investigative actions involving the accused Pasichny, the results of which became the basis for changing the accusation for all the accused in the case.

ISHR experts express concern over the fact that new evidence was gathered after the prosecutor visited the accused Pasichny in the sixth year of pre-trial detention. Moreover, the meeting took place without prior notification of the accused’s lawyer and without the participation of a defense counsel.

In paragraph 85 of the ECtHR judgment “Yaremenko v. Ukraine”, the European Court recalls that the right of every person charged with a criminal offense to have effective defense of a lawyer appointed officially when necessary is one of the fundamental features of a fair trial.

The Court observes that in this case the sentence according to which the applicant was convicted of the 1998 crime was mainly based on his confession, which was obtained in the absence of a lawyer (paragraph 86 of the judgment).

At the session that took place on October 10, the prosecutor Savchuk filed a motion for separation into a separate proceeding, the case against the accused Pasichny, in connection with the conclusion of an agreement on guilty plea. The court, after entering the deliberation room, issued rulings on separation in a separate proceeding, the case against the accused Pasichny.

Experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this trial. The next session will be held on October 16.