Independent public portal on impartial trial monitoring

Furgal: Interrogation of an Expert and an Eyewitness

13.05.2023 @ 14:36 – 15:36 Europe/Helsinki Timezone
Furgal: Interrogation of an Expert and an Eyewitness

On May 13, the trial of Furgal and three other defendants continued.

A separate room was set up for broadcasting, with only our monitor and the press among the audience.

At 10:30, prosecutors and defense attorneys arrived. The session began with the examination of evidence presented by the prosecution.

On May 12, a complaint from the audience regarding access to the courtroom was filed – the judge responded that there was a member of the public, and the trial was open.

The jury entered the courtroom.

One of the jurors, an alternate, requested to be excused due to health reasons.

Prosecutors and the defense did not object to proceeding without her.

The court warned that they would “work until 16:00 today.”

The questioning of the explosives expert Kuskov from the Investigative Committee began. His rights were read to him.

The parties asked him about the construction of the RGD-5 grenade – Kuskov showed a dummy grenade and explained how it works. The expert clarified that the detonator cannot accidentally activate.

Kuskov noted that he only studied the case materials and documents.

They examined the protocols from the crime scene.

Prosecutor: How far from the explosion is it deadly?

Expert: 20-25 meters, fragments spread. 

The specialist commented that the grenade exploded on the ground, which was fortunate. The second one did not explode because it was prepared incorrectly.

Attorney: Can the exploded grenade be identified?

Expert: Yes, there is marking on the fuse. 

Attorney: What other consequences can result from an explosion?

Expert: Up close – thermal effects, barotrauma, contusion.

The prosecutor requested the case files and wanted to examine the protocol from October 29, 2004. Defense attorneys filed a procedural motion, and the jury was temporarily removed for its consideration.

The parties argued whether to show the jury a photo with the victim’s body. Defense attorneys insisted that it could shock the jurors, while the prosecution believed that the protocol was an admissible piece of evidence and should be shown for clarity to establish the victim’s position and clothing.

The court: The motion restricts the rights of the prosecution. The photographs are necessary to establish the crime scene. The motion is denied.

Attorney Raevsky: I want to appeal. Don’t deprive me of the right to object.

Judge: Later.

Attorney Raevsky: I have the right to do it now. I asked not to show explicit images of the naked body in fragments. The jurors are not medical professionals.

The jurors are invited in. The prosecutor reads the investigator’s protocol regarding the examination of the crime scene, the description of the body, bullet sleeves, pistol and the location of the incident.

Furgal complains that it’s very stuffy in the glass box, and there’s no air to breathe.

However, the courtroom is cool. The judge asks if the air conditioner is working – they turn it up.

The jurors review the documents.

The prosecutor reads the protocol of the examination of Eugeny Zori’s body and other protocols.

The judge asks if there is any airflow to the glass box.

The prosecutor reads the materials of the prosecution.

Attorney: I object; the prosecutor is not reading the expert’s conclusions in full. I protest against selectivity.

The parties argue.

The judge calls for order and asks the prosecutor to read everything in full.

Afterwards, the case materials are read, and a 30-minute break is announced.

After the break, three press members remain in the courtroom. The secretary says that I will be invited when they bring in the defendants.

The questioning of witness Naumov has begun: at the time of the crime, Naumov was a patrol officer, but he was off duty at the time of the incident. His rights were explained to him. The witness stated that he did not know the defendants.

The witness requested that his statements made during the investigation be read aloud, but the prosecutor refused.

Naumov witnessed one of the murders: he was walking from a restaurant to his car around 23:00 o’clock. He had been in the restaurant briefly. He was walking on the road when he noticed a commotion between two individuals. He heard several consecutive gunshots, fell to the ground, heard someone running away, and then saw one person fleeing while another lay on the grass. The person on the ground was gasping, and a pistol and a bag were nearby. Naumov called for help and the police, but did not touch anything.

Naumov did not see the face of the person who fled, but he described his build and height as average. According to the witness, the person who fled appeared to be 25-30 years old.

Prosecutor: How do you determine the age? Based on their build?

Defense Attorney: I object to leading questions. The prosecutor is coaching the witness.

Court: Objection overruled.

Prosecutor: Was there any money found with the deceased?

Witness: Yes, they took money out of the bag in my presence.

Prosecutor: Did the attacker and the victim try to take something from each other?

Defense attorney objects: The answer is being suggested.

Court: Objection overruled.

The witness explains: I saw it peripherally. It was just a strange scuffle, not a fight. The lighting was poor.

Defense Attorney: Were these two individuals moving?

Witness: No, they were standing still.

Then the witness answers questions from the defense, stating that he does not know whether the deceased and the attacker were acquainted, and the money, which he estimated to be “tens of thousands,” was seen in a laptop bag, and he estimated the amount by eyeballing it, as he did not count the money. Therefore, the sum was only an estimate.

Attorney Starcev: Can you describe the pistol?

Witness: It was a standard Makarov service pistol. Not new.

Prosecutor: The amount in the bag – is that your assumption?

Witness: Yes. I was surprised that valuable items were left behind, so it wasn’t a robbery.

Attorney: Do you think they saw you?

Witness: I believe so since I saw them. Everything happened within a minute.

Questions from the jurors are passed.

The court reviews them and clarifies that the answers have already been provided in the testimony.

Prosecutor: We request not to disclose the essence of motions to the jurors.

Court: Objection sustained. But it is unlikely to be intentional.

Attorney: I request to disclose volume 8 with Naumov’s statements because there are contradictions in his statements. Reads: “There was no conversation. Then it seemed to me that they knew each other. It looked like they were discussing something.”

Defendants support the motion.

Prosecutors object, as they consider it speculative.

Defendant Karepov shouts: I’ve been sitting for three years based on speculations.

Prosecutor: There are no contradictions here. Please reject the motion and clarify in questioning. The mere fact of disclosing the statements will influence the jurors.

Court: Grant the motion to determine the witness’s position.

The defense attorney adds to the motion. There are contradictions in the description of the height of the attacker. I also request disclosure.

Court: The witness said he was uncertain about the height. Defendants support the motions.

Prosecutors object.

Court: In this case, the court does not see significant contradictions. Motion denied.

The court reads aloud the witness’s testimony about the possible acquaintance between the victim and the attacker.

Attorney: Why did you then think they knew each other?

Witness: There were no shouts or actions; the victim calmly allowed the criminal near him. So, I made that assumption.

Attorney: How quickly were the shots fired?

Witness: Quickly, one after another.

Attorney: How many shots were there?

Witness: 6-7.

Attorney: Regarding the appearance of the fleeing individual…

Court: Inadmissible question. Let’s be attentive and avoid repetition. The question is withdrawn.

Defendant Paley clarifies the height of the attacker and the victim again, and Naumov replies that he estimated it visually and that it’s only an assumption that the attacker was taller than himself.

Prosecutor: Why did you decide today that they weren’t acquainted?

Witness: I don’t know them; I had never seen them before. I just assumed.

The prosecution requested the disclosure of Naumov’s testimony given at the crime scene. Defense attorneys and the defendants objected, as they did not see any contradictions in the witness’s statements. The court decided to grant the request because the on-site interrogation protocol was significant.

The prosecutor reads the protocol: There was a struggle or scuffle between two unknown men. Naumov showed the location where this occurred. The distance was 38 meters. The area was well visible. According to Naumov’s testimony, the fleeing individual was approximately 180 cm tall, weighed 75-89 kg, and was 25-30 years old.

A video recording of Naumov’s testimony taken in 2019 is shown, but it is mentioned that the materials from 2004 are missing without further clarification.

Naumov is asked clarifying questions once again, and then the witness is released.

The court announces a break until May 18.

Furgal’s defense attorneys request that the hearings be scheduled twice a week because frequent court sessions deprive Furgal of walks and meetings with his lawyers. He has other court sessions simultaneously due to an appeal complaint. As a result, Furgal is deprived of his right to rest.

The judge summarizes: All of May, there will be hearings twice a week: May 11, 13, 18, 20, 23, and 25. These are all the hearings for May.

Furgal: I declare torture. They are torturing me. I am in a confined space round the clock, cannot go for a walk, and I have lost my sight. In the video conferencing booth, you sit in a glass box all day [Note: When people participate in court via video conferencing from a detention facility, they often sit in a small room with bars, referred to as a “glass box”]. Constant court sessions, on the 16th, 17th, 18th. Five days a week! I cannot eat, go for a walk, or breathe fresh air. I have endured this for two years. I request: regulate the court schedule. Give me one day a week to wash and breathe. I request to reschedule the session from May 18 to the 20th.

The court session is rescheduled for May 18.”

Post comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support our work

© 2019-2021 Independent public portal on impartial trial monitoring