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“Skhemy”'s lawyer said case went to court without key evidence

03.11.2021, 13:21
Screenshot from the Skhemy's video
Screenshot from the Skhemy's video

The prosecutor's office sent to court the case files on aggression of journalists from the "Skhemy" program in the office of Ukreximbank Chairman Yevhen Metsher without key evidence which are the original audio recording of the incident and the video of the attack. This was said by the lawyer of the journalist and cameraman of "Skhemy" Anatoliy Popov, as Radio Svoboda reported.

“Today, the case was brought to court, but there is no key evidence in it. This does compromise the possibility of proving the guilt of the accused in the committed offense, ” as Anatoliy Popov said.

In addition, in the course of preparing the charging documents, the most severe article 146 of the Criminal Code ("Illegal depriving of liberty or abduction"), which is punishable by deprivation of liberty for up to three years.

“As far as we know, the investigation of the case under Article 146 on unlawful detention of journalists in the bank's premises has been closed. And only this article is considered to be a criminal offense. The other two articles under which the case went to court are misdemeanor offenses, under which both the investigation procedure is simplified and the responsibility is much mitigated. We will appeal the decision to close the case under the part 146 of the article, " as Anatoliy Popov said.

The spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Nadiya Maksymets, a spokeswoman for the Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office, explained in a comment to Ukrayinska Pravda that the investigation deadline was November 4 and is not subject to prolongation, so the district prosecutor's office sent the charging documents to the district court the day before. Otherwise, the prospect of this case is its closure due to violation of the terms of the investigation.

According to Nadiya Maksymets, during the interrogation the aggrieved party (journalists) said that they would provide the original audio and video recordings only on the basis of the decision of the investigating judge on temporary access.

The prosecutor's office appealed to the Holosiivskyi District Court of Kyiv, but the court denied it.

At the same time, the spokeswoman noted that copies of these audio and video materials from the Internet were considered and legally joined to the case files of the investigation as evidence.

"The aggrived persons could provide the original of the restored video of the conflict within 28 days, but, without being restricted in this right, they failed to do it. The victims were also invited on November 1 to review the materials and file petitions, but did not exercise this right. Such passive procedural behavior of the victims is incomprehensible.

During the trial, victims will be able to ask the court to attach the original audio and video recordings, but they need to be motivated for good reasons why they did not do so during the pre-trial investigation.

As for the withdrawal of Art. 146 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (from the case- n/tr). The investigation objectively, fully and comprehensively examined the facts of possible illegal deprivation of liberty of the victims in this criminal proceeding.

As part of the investigation, the victims and suspects were interrogated, investigative experiments were conducted with the participation of these persons, as well as their simultaneous interrogations.

The investigative actions in their entirety confirm the illegal seizure of materials and technical means collected by journalists in order to prevent them from performing their professional activities. However, the evidence obtained is not sufficient to prove in court the guilt of persons in committing a criminal offense under Article 146 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

At the same time, I would like to note that all actions committed against journalists, including those of a violent nature, are covered by other articles incriminated by the suspect - parts 1, 3 of Art. 171 (obstruction of lawful professional activity of journalists) and part 1 of Art. 126 (violent actions that caused physical pain and did not cause bodily harm) ", - the spokeswoman noted.

 

As IMI reported, on November 2, law enforcement officers filed charging documents against four people suspected of obstructing the legitimate professional activities of journalists with “Skhemy”. 

The actions of two other employees of the bank, namely the head of the Department of Banking Security and the head of the Department of Internal Security of Civil Protection and Security of the bank are qualified by h.h. 1, 3 st. 171, part 1 of Art. 126 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - illegal seizure of information the journalist collected and technical means he used for his professional activity, influencing in any form a journalist in order to prevent him from performing professional duties committed by an official using his official opinions; intentionally committing acts of violence that caused physical pain and did not cause bodily harm.

As IMI reported, on October 4 in Kyiv, employees of the state-owned Ukreximbank used brute force against  the film crew of "Skhemy" while recording an interview with the chairman of the financial institution Yevhen Metzher right in his office.

The Kyiv Police has initiated criminal proceedings for obstructing the professional activities of journalists of the “Schemes” program (Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

Ukreximbank accused “Skhemy” journalists of misappropriating information with limited access (banking secrecy) and violating the Code of Ethics for Ukrainian Journalists.

On October 4, journalists for “Skhemy”were summoned for questioning as victims to establish all the circumstances of the incident at Ukreximbank during a recording of an interview with Chairman of the Board Yevhen Metzher.

On October 4, the editorial board of "Skhemy" managed to restore the video deleted by Ukreximbank employees during the attack on the film crew in the office of the head of the state bank Yevhen Metzher.

On October 5, the Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank announced that it had begun investigating the circumstances of the conflict with “Schemy” journalists.

On October 6, Ukreximbank's Chairman of the Board Yevhen Metzher said he would step down from office during the police investigation and an internal bank investigation into the conflict with “Skhemy” journalists.

On October 6, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said that the Office of the Prosecutor General would not cover for the actions of employees of the state-owned Ukreximbank who attacked the TV crew of the "Skhemy" program. The person in charge will be notified of the suspicion.

On October 6, the Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank decided to suspend the Chairman of the Board of Ukreximbank Yevhen Metzher from the exercise of his powers for the duration of the internal investigation.

On October 6, police officers requalified the case on the grounds of a crime under Part 3 of Art. 171 of the Criminal code of Ukraine (Obstruction of lawful professional activity of journalists by an officer). The initial registration at the request of journalists was under Part 1 of Art. 171 (obstruction by denial of access, seizure of equipement, illegitimate ban to cover some issues and so on).

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