HOTLINE(050) 447-70-63
We are available 24/7
Leave your contact details
and we contact you
Thank you for reaching out

Or contact us:

[email protected]

(050) 447-70-63

File a complaint

Court acquits the policeman charged with attacking KyivPost journalist

08.03.2024, 15:14
Taisia Kutuzova in the Sviatoshyno Court of Kyiv. November 10, 2023. Photo by Okeksiy Arunyan, Graty
Taisia Kutuzova in the Sviatoshyno Court of Kyiv. November 10, 2023. Photo by Okeksiy Arunyan, Graty

The Sviatoshyno District Court of Kyiv acquitted the policeman accused of assaulting KyivPost journalist and documentarist Taisia Kutuzova.

The judgement was passed on March 4, Taisia Kutuzova told the Institute of Mass Information.

On October 6, 2020, a group of police officers used force against Taisia Kutuzova in Hatne village, Kyiv oblast. She was reporting on a village election commission meeting. The commission planned to disqualify a candidate for community chairmanship. Three policemen twisted the journalist's arms, took her camera and damaged the microphone.

Although the attack was committed by a group, the judgement only mentions one policeman, the journalist noted.

The police officer was charged under Part 3 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Preclusion to the legal professional activity of journalists"). The judgement, which the journalist provided to the IMI, says that he was acquitted "due to the lack of a corpus delicti in his actions."

According to the indictment, the police arrived at the polling station in response to a report about some muscular men in tracksuits appearing there. Kutuzova approached the police and asked why the men were detained. Not understanding the police's reply, she started filming the detention. In turn, the police began to demand she leave and stop filming.

At the same time, the policeman who was acquitted by the court, who had neither introduced himself nor shown his badge, grabbed Kutuzova by the arm, took her camera away and pushed her away – all despite Taisia having introcudec herself as a journalist. After that, he left, according to the indictment. Two of his colleagues also took part in the conflict, but they stood before the court as witnesses.

The prosecutor asked for the defendant's imprisonment for four years and to revoke his right to office or to perform certain work for three years.

The defendant's attorney believed that Kutuzova forged her KyivPost ID, pointing out an error in it, and claimed it was inadmissible evidence. Kutuzova's representative noted that her KyivPost certificate contains a technical error: the publisher's name is spelled incorrectly, "Business Group LLC" with one "p" instead of the correct two. According to the defense, this in no way affects the legal status of his client as a journalist.

The court ruled that the defendant did not intentionally obstruct Kutuzova's legal professional activity, as the prosecution failed to provide "convincing and indisputable evidence that the defendant intended to obstruct the legal professional activity of a journalist, and this was not established during the trial." The court also claimed that the policeman had taken no active action aimed at obstruction.

The court added that during the hearing, the prosecutor failed to adequately prove that Kutuzova was engaged in professional reporting and is a journalist. This claim, the court says, is only supported by copies of Taisia's ID, which say she worked with "Kyiv Post" as a freelancer. The court also noted that the technical error in the journalist's certificate made it inadmissible.

In the comment to the IMI, Taisia Kutuzova said that she considered the ruling unfair and would appeal against it.

"It is very unfortunate and sad that the court listened to the defendant's lawyer about the spelling error on the ID, which they say proves that I do belong to the journalist field, but ignored the editors' evidence regarding the validity of this ID and the 10 years of my journalistic experience, which can be supported by the articles in many media outlets you can see just by typing my name into Google Search," she commented.

She also added that she and her representative asked the court to watch the footage of the incident while questioning of the witnesses, "because their words contradicted what actually happened, but the court did not allow it."

The ruling can be appealed to the Kyiv Court of Appeal within 30 days.

The attack on Taisia Kutuzova

In 2020, KyivPost freelance journalist and documentarist Taisia Kutuzova faced obstruction of her work three times while filming the documentary "Shut Up!" about the local activist Serhiy Chaharov.

All three incidents occurred in Hatne village (Kyiv oblast). On June 1, the village council security guards physically restricted her access to the village council hall, citing the quarantine. On August 14, the guards barred Kutuzova from entering the village council.

On October 6, the police used force against Taisia Kutuzova. They twisted her arms, took her camera away and damaged the microphone.

Later, the Kyiv oblast police started proceedings over a group of police officers using force against a journalist under Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Preclusion of the legal professional activities of journalists"). The attackers were suspended from work.

On October 15, the State Bureau of Investigation opened a case following Taisia Kutuzova's statement on obstruction by police officers.

Liked the article?
Help us be even more cool!