Monitoring of the case of Irina Sukhorukova (hearing on September 30, 2020)

On September 30, 2020, a preparatory hearing on the resonant case of Irina Sukhorukova, the owner of an illegal kindergarten, equipped in a three-room apartment, was held in the Shevchenkovsky District Court of Zaporozhye. The woman is accused of premeditated murder of a one-year-old child (clause 2, part 2, article 115 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Irina Sukhorukova faces 15 years or life imprisonment. Despite the fact that she does not consider herself guilty of the death of the child, Surveillance cameras recorded the woman’s violence against the girl. In order not to hear the crying of the child, the teacher put (or tied) a pillow on her face.

The court session was held with the participation of the prosecutor, the accused, her defense lawyers, the victims and their representative.

The course of the trial.

At the beginning of the hearing, the prosecutor asked the court to schedule the case for trial and filed a motion to extend the detention of the accused, which was motivated by the fact that she was reasonably accused of committing an especially grave crime, there was a risk of her escape, illegal impact on victims and witnesses. These factors, according to the prosecutor, should be taken into account when deciding whether to choose a measure of restraint in the form of detention.

The victims and their representative supported the position of the prosecutor and asked to take into consideration also civil claims.

The defender of the accused, attorney P.V. Budilka, asked to return the indictment to the prosecutor, arguing that the act does not comply with Article 291 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, since the wording of the accusation does not correspond to the qualifications of the accused’s actions, the accused did not understand the essence of the accusation, it does not indicate the form of guilt, the motives and degree of implementation of the criminal intent of the incriminated criminal offense, and also challenged the prosecutor A.S. Zhulay, arguing that she did not have the appropriate powers, that the prosecutor was personally interested in the unilateral consideration of the case due to career motives. The lawyer also pointed out that, in his opinion, the pre-trial investigation in the Shevchenkovsky district was conducted ineffectively, he referred to the fact that the Internet contains information about the personal interest of the prosecutor Anna Zhulay and her family ties with the chairman of the court. This information has not been confirmed by any document.

Also, the defender of the accused objected to the extension of the measure of restraint in the form of detention and asked to change the measure of restraint to house arrest.

The defendant agreed with the position of her lawyers and filed a motion for the criminal proceedings to be examined by a jury consisting of two professional judges and three juries.

Having heard the opinion of the participants in the proceeding, having checked the compliance of the indictment with the requirements of the procedural law, the court came to the conclusion that the defense lawyer’s request to return the indictment to the prosecutor is not subject to satisfaction, as well as the challenge to the prosecutor, due to the fact that the applicant has not presented convincing arguments and evidence that would indicate the existence of circumstances that are grounds for challenging the prosecutor, and the powers of the prosecutor in this proceeding are confirmed by the relevant decisions of the heads of the prosecutor’s office, information about which is reflected in the register of pre-trial investigation materials.

The court decided that the case will be considered by a common panel with the participation of a jury, and the circumstances of the case do not require a trial in closed court session.

When deciding on the extension of the measure of restraint against the accused Sukhorukova, the court took into account the existence of a reasonable suspicion, as well as information that Irina Sukhorukova has a permanent place of residence, which coincides with her registration, has children, including minors. The court also considered the risk of continuing the accused criminal activity as unlikely, since Irina had not been previously convicted, is a senior citizen, that is, she is adapted in society, has a source of income.

At the same time, the court agreed with the arguments of the prosecution that the possibility of imposing a sentence of imprisonment for a long term may induce the accused to take actions in order to prevent the establishment of the truth in the case, to influence the victims and witnesses.

When considering this petition, the court concluded that the stated risks of the defendant’s escape, the possibility of illegal influence on victims and witnesses, even after the completion of the pre-trial investigation, did not diminish and continue to exist, which is the basis for refusing to change the measure of restraint of the accused to house arrest.

The Court, taking into account the provisions of Article 5 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, according to which restrictions on the human right to liberty and security of person are possible only in cases provided for by law according to the established procedure, as well as the facts that the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly emphasized and that the court by its decision must ensure not only the rights of the suspect, but also high standards of protection of civil rights and interests, extended the period of detention by 60 days.

The court accepted for consideration the civil claims of the victims for compensation for moral damage caused as a result of a criminal offense.

The next court session is scheduled for October 9, 2020, the experts of the ISHR will continue to monitor this trial.