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Court of appeal revoked authorization given to SBI to get access to “Schemes”’s data

12.11.2019, 18:33

On November 12, the Kyiv Court of Appeal has partially upheld the appeal filed by the “Schemes” program against the Pechersk District Court's decision. Thus, the judges have revoked the authorization given to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to get a temporary access to the communications inside the editorial office and other data of the journalists who were preparing the investigation “Mr Petro Incognito”, as Radio Liberty reported.

The court also ordered to reconsider the petition of the investigators in the court of first instance - the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv.

“... The temporary access to the documents with the possibility of seizure of its copies, that Radio Liberty has at its disposal, shall be cancelled. Hereby, new ruling shall be issued to order a new trial in the court of first instance of the motion filed by the investigator asking to grant temporary access to the documents, which are at the disposal of Radio Liberty, with the possibility of its seizure, to the investigator and the group of investigators within the criminal proceeding. The decision is not subject to appeal”, - the decision was announced by the judge Olga Yurdyga.

The lawyer with the Regional Press Development Institute Vira Krat gave a positive evaluation of  that decision of the Court of Appeal: “As the ruling (of the Pechersk Court on the access of the SBI to communications of the editorial board. - Ed. ) has been cancelled, there is no threat of searches at Radio Liberty. And further, we will submit our arguments to the court of first instance”.

As to the possibility that the Pechersk Court will grant an access to the editorial documents once more, the lawyer said: “I do not exclude (it - Ed. ), But I look forward that our arguments will be heard and accepted… The panel of judges will be changed. Me, as a lawyer, I cannot speak about the prejudice of some particular court. If there is reasons to speak of a particular judge's bias, we will consider it. ”

The representatives of law enforcement agencies - Prosecutor of the Prosecutor General's Office Dmytro Kryvovyaz and the investigator of the SBI Pavlo Seheda qttended the sitting. They categorically declined to comment on that ruling. Representatives of the OSCE mission to Ukraine were also present in the courtroom.

The lawyers of “Schemes” noted that although the Pechersk court's ruling meant that it was not appealable, the lawyers appealed to the Kyiv Court of Appeal requesting to cancel it, since it provided access to the documents containing the secret journalistic sources, as it is protected by the law.

As IMI reported, on October 17, the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv granted temporary access for SBI to internal communications of the “Schemes: Corruption in Details” journalists who were preparing an investigation into “Mr. Petro Incognito ”(about Petro Poroshenko's secret vacation in the Maldives, published in January 2018 by Mykhaylo Tkach and Natalka Sedletska).

Investigators have also been granted access to a range of other in-house editorial data, such as the hours of journalists, operators and drivers, their remuneration.

The court issued that decision in the context of a pre-trial criminal investigation held by the State Bureau of Investigation into alleged "unlawful crossing the state border by some persons" - the ex-president of Ukraine in particular, - "with deliberately forged documents".

According to the court's decision, if the editorial board fails to provide the above-mentioned elements to the police, the court "has right to issue a ruling to authorize search and seizure of the said items and documents", at the request of the investigators of the SBI."

The editorial board of “Schemes: Corruption in Details” considered the volume of internal data that the access has been granted to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) by the decision of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv to be excessive.

“Schemes”’s editorial office  filed an appeal to the Kyiv Court of Appeal against the Pechersk Court's decision, which granted access to the data of its journalists.

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