Lutsenko trial: forced day out with Prosecutor hurling allegations
Former Internal Affairs Minister Yury Lutsenko was due but did not arrive in court at 8.05 on Friday morning after a court hearing that went on until 23.30 the previous evening (15 hours), with 4 enforced breaks while ambulances were called to provide medical assistance to the defendant.
At 8.20 Judge Vovk announced the beginning of the court hearing, but was then forced to adjourn it. The trial has been marred by grave procedural violations from the outset, but presumably the defendant’s presence was required.
The People’s Self-Defence Party’s website notes that no witnesses were waiting in the corridor, so it is likely everybody in fact knew that the hearing was unlikely to proceed.
During the day the Prosecutor General’s Office posted notification and a video recording of a briefing given by Dmytro Loban, the State Prosecutor in the case. He asserted that Yury Lutsenko had refused to go to the court, while according to the medical staff of the Penitentiary Service there was nothing to stop him taking part in the court hearing. He claimed that the defence was in this way dragging out the trial.
He also alleged that the length of the previous day’s hearing had been the fault of the defence and of MPs present in the courtroom.
Loban also asserted that “as of the present day 83 witnesses have been questioned. They have all confirmed their testimony given during the pre-trial examination regarding the circumstances of the crimes which the defendant is accused of. ….”
He alleged that the defence “is trying to unlawfully take the function of the court upon themselves and deliberately provoking witnesses to provide their personal thoughts about the guilt of the defendants. This is in turn leading to the spreading of distorted information about the course of the court examination”.
Loban was asked by journalists to provide medical documents which confirm the lack of grounds for Lutsenko’s non-appearance. He did not respond, referring to the official statement of the Penitentiary Service and saying that he “trusts the professionals from the Penitentiary Service”.
Loban also saw fit to say that Yury Lutsenko had lay on his bunk to be photographed.
Please see the very large number of reports below which indicate that witnesses do not consider that their testimony was recorded correctly and / or do not confirm it during the court hearings.
There have also been a number of reports, some citing medical experts who examined him, which suggest Mr Lutsenko has a serious medical condition.