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Police denied "Fourth Power" access to information

07.08.2020, 18:06

Media outlet “Fourth power” was denied by police when it requested information about the situation of the traffic accident that took place two years ago, caused by a female police investigator, Dostup do pravdy ("Access to truth") reports. 

In the response to the request, the police referred to secret of pre-trial investigation, so information about the name of the investigating official and the current status of the case was not provided. At that, the responding agency only referred to the article 222 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine that protects the secrecy of investigation, without referring to the Law on Access.

Attorney and media lawyer of NGO “Human Rights Platform” Liudmyla Opryshko considers the denial to provide this information is unjustified, even if for the reason that the police did not even try to use the three-component test - that is, to consider the harm that dissemination of such information can cause.

“For this, you need not only to name the law, which limits access to the information requested, but also to explain why dissemination can cause considerable harm, and why the harm exceeds public interest to this information.  If the requirements of the law on access to public information were adhered to, one would need to explain why full name of the investigator is suddenly a pre-trial related information, and why publication of the name of the investigator in two years after the accident is an obstacle for disclosing the crime. Or how the pre-trial investigation can be harmed by information about the status of that pre-trial investigation, that is, whether it is closed and went to the court or still ongoing”, – Liudmyla Opryshko commented.

The attorney said  that because the head of the investigations department mentions secret of the investigation, we can assume that the criminal proceeding under the case is ongoing. Otherwise it would be probably hard to explain with the secret of investigation, as investigation would be over.

In the comment for IMI, vice-director of the agency of investigative journalism "Fourth power" Antonina Torbich said that she filed a complaint to the Parliamentary High Commissioner for Human Rights for denial of access to this information.

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