Open Appeal on the Inadmissibility of Interference with Lawyers

2018-03-10

KYIV - March 10, 2018. The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA), as a leading legal community aimed at implementing the Rule of Law principle, expresses its concern about the fact that the lawyers are being prevented from exercising their professional duties and feel pressure on them.

On February 7, 2018, the investigating judge of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv, S.V. Shaputko issued a decision on access denial for lawyers Olga Prosyaniuk and Oleksandr Goroshinsky to participate in the court hearings, despite the fact that they had provided necessary documents confirming their authority.

After this decision, police forces physically kicked out lawyers from the courtroom, which is expressly prohibited by Part 2 of Article 330 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, blocked the entrance to the hall and further prevented the lawyer from doing so, threatening to detain and bring them to the police station of Pechersk District of Kyiv.

In addition, a lawyer Ivan Angelin from the Center for Free Legal Aid Provision was appointed to the client (defendant), who had previously retained Olga Prosyanyuk and Oleksandr Goroshinsky. According to the  client and his duly appointed and authorized lawyers, Olga Prosyaniuk and Oleksandr Goroshynsky, the appointed lawyer performed in a non-professional and non-ethical manner thus creating an opportunity for the investigating judge to make a decision that worsens the procedural position of the client.

Having in mind these facts, the Association made an appeal to secure the right to defence and guarantees of the legal profession, and called on judicial bodies and lawyers who cooperate with the Center for Free Legal Aid Provision to prevent actions that violate the person's right to defence and guarantees of the legal profession.

Olga Prosyanyuk and Oleksandr Goroshynsky, initiated an appeal to the lawyers' self-government bodies requesting disciplinary actions against Ivan Angelin in connection with violation of the Code of Ethics.

Taking into account the circumstances mentioned above, the Association believes that in this situation filing a complaint to the disciplinary bodies on the conduct of Ivan Angelin in the court displays no signs of illegal or unlawful pressure or other influence on him. The final conclusions should be given by the qualification-disciplinary Bar commission on the results of the consideration of the complaint.

However, on the basis of the MP's appeal regarding the said complaint against Ivan Angelin, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine filed criminal proceedings on the grounds of interference with a lawyer or a representative (Part 1, Article 397 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and on representation of interests in a court without authority (part 2 Article 400-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The indicated proceedings against lawyers Prosyanyuk and Goroshynsky (unauthorized activity) raises a legitimate concern. Thus, the indicated actions of the prosecutor's office contains signs of pressure against the defence party.

The Ukrainian Bar Association urges the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine to respect the constitutional right to defence and the lawyer's right to choose a defence strategy, to refrain from unlawful actions against lawyers, and stresses the inadmissibility of influence on lawyers, especially through initiating criminal proceedings against them.

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