Not all topsy-turvy: Court fines Dementy Bily’s assailant


The court has found that Kherson businessman, Viktor Shevchuk did indeed inflict grievous assault on Dementiy Bily, journalist and human rights activist, during the Mayor’s report on his activities to the selected few in September 2010.

Instead three men shoved Dementiy out into the foyer, where one proceeded to inflict blows to his face.

The police did nothing until Dementiy’s camera hit the main assailant, businessman Viktor Shevchuk, on the forehead as he tried to break free.  They then drew up a protocol against Dementiy Bily for an administrative offence as supposedly having caused the fight. 

Dementiy Bily himself applied to the Prosecutor to have a criminal investigation initiated over the assault and obstruction of his journalist work. The Prosecutor only initiate an investigation against the other person, Viktor Shevchuk over injuries inflicted to Dementiy Bily (Article 125  § 1 of the Criminal Code).

At the end of last year Judge Kuzmina of the Suvorovsky District Court combined two cases: the first being that mentioned above, initiated by the Prosecutor’s Office. The second – a private complaint from Shevchuk against Dementiy Bily, alleging deliberate injury inflicted through his camera.

During the first three months of 2011 the judge examined both cases as part of the same proceedings. Judge Kuzmina then concluded that there was insufficient evidence that Bily had deliberately injured Shevchuk and sent the case back for further investigation. That ruling was upheld by the Appeal Court.

The case against Shevchuk was almost immediately sent back to the court, however the allegations about Dementiy Bily were investigated again. The investigator issued a decision to charge him with deliberate bodily injury and he was made to give a signed undertaking not to leave the city.

There was, however, public outrage over this, and several collective appeals demanding a more thorough investigation.  This resulted in the Prosecutor terminating the highly contentious proceedings. Shevchuk however appealed against this decision and the court at two levels issued a decision to have the circumstances of the case more thoroughly examined. This is what the police are now, apparently, doing, with witnesses being called, before that case again ends up in court.

However the Suvorovsky District Court has now examined the case against Viktor Shevchuk.  On 21 November Judge Olha Slysarenko found the businessman and City Council deputy Viktor Shevchuk guilty of assault, and ordered him to pay a fine and court costs. 

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