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Court closes the case on "Skhemy" journalists attack in Chabany

04.04.2024, 14:13
The men who attacked "Skhemy" journalists in March 2019. Photo by Radio Liberty
The men who attacked "Skhemy" journalists in March 2019. Photo by Radio Liberty

The Brovary District Court of the Kyiv Oblast closed the case regarding the attack on the "Skhemy" (RFE/RL project) filming crew which occurred in March 2019 in Chabany, Kyiv oblast.

The judgement was passed on April 3, reports Radio Liberty.

The ruling was made due to the "expiration of the statute of limitations", as was requested at a hearing by the defendant – a man who attacked of the filming crew, the former head of the NGO "Kyiv Oblast Development" Valeriy Prysyazhny.

The victim – "Skhemy" cameraman Borys Trotsenko – was supposed to be questioned at the hearing, but a jury member announced a motion to close the proceedings "due to the term of prosecution expiring."

Judge Vadym Chervonopysky granted the defendant's request.

"Skhemy" lawyer and the head of the Regional Press Development Institute legal department, Oksana Maksymeniuk, explains that this March marked five years since the attack on the journalists and the opening of the case, but she believes that the judgement was enabled by deliberate delays.

"The defendant escaped justice due to delays with the the pre-trial investigation and the trial. Initially, in 2020, the police unlawfully dropped the case. Then we filed a statement again – and in 2021, proceedings were opened on other grounds (under the article on "threats or violence against a journalist in connection with their legal professional work"). Then came the full-scale invasion and the presiding judge in the case was replaced. The bottom line is that time was wasted," the lawyer notes.

The press service of the Kyiv Oblast Prosecutor's Office reported that they did everything in their power for the case to be tried within a reasonable time frame.

"First, the prosecutors successfully resumed the investigation, notifying the man suspected of intentionally beating a journalist due to his reporting and sending the indictment to the court. Later, the judge was replaced and the defendant filed numerous motions. Processing them took time. At the April 3 hearing, the defendant submitted another motion to close the proceedings – this allowed him to be relieved from penalty. We would like to note that the prosecutors in the case did all in their power for the case to be tried within a reasonable time," the Prosecutor's Office noted.

"Skhemy" journalists attacked in Chabany

The filming crew of the "Skhemy: Corruption in Detail" program, consisting of journalist Kateryna Kaplyuk and cameraman Borys Trotsenko, was attacked in Chabany, Kyiv oblast, on March 6, 2019 while filming a report about the allocation of state land managed by the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine to private owners.

The incident took place at the Chabany village council. The man injured the cameraman and broke the video camera. After the examination at the hospital, doctors diagnosed Borys Trotsenko with a concussion.

The perpetrators were Volodymyr Chupryna, the village's head of housing and utilities, and Yuriy Bondar, the deputy mayor supervising the village's executive bodies.

The ex-head of the public organization "Kyiv Oblast Development" Valeriy Prysyazhny, was another perpetrator who later became a defendant in the case.

In July 2020, the police dropped the case for the obstruction of the work of "Skhemy" journalists due to "the expiration of the pre-trial investigation period." The "Skhemy" lawyers were going to appeal the decision.

On May 31, 2021, proceedings were opened on the grounds of a criminal offense under Part 2 of Art. 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

On May 30, 2022, the Brovary District Prosecutor's Office issued a suspicion notice to a lawyer for attacking the cameraman of the journalist investigation program "Skhemy" (Radio Liberty) Borys Trotsenko. The lawyer was suspected of deliberately beating a journalist due to his reporting (Part 2 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). In June 2022, an indictment against the lawyer was submitted to court

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