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Tatuyko: conviction, even after admission of guilt and compensation

28.04.2023 @ 21:27 – 22:27 Europe/Helsinki Timezone
Tatuyko: conviction, even after admission of guilt and compensation

About the case: Zakhar Tatuyko is being charged with committing violence against a representative of the authorities (Part 1 of Article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) during an anti-war protest on March 2nd. According to the investigation, Tatuyko intervened on behalf of another participant in the protest – when that person was being detained, he pulled a police officer away from him and then sprayed pepper spray into Dulskiy’s face.

The case is being considered by the Kuybyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg, presiding Judge – Artem Vladimirovich Lytaev.

The hearing began with a delay of more than 2 hours, at 16:03 instead of 14:00. At 15:10, an assistant to the judge or secretary came out to the litigants in the case and explained the delay by stating that the cases scheduled before Tatuyko’s case had taken longer than anticipated. He also mentioned that there would be another case, and after that, he would invite everyone in.

In the end, a representative from the prosecution in Tatuyko’s case invited us into the courtroom. She likely represented the prosecution in previous hearings but, in any case, somehow was inside the courtroom before the defense side. When we were all inside the courtroom, waiting for the judge, someone called the courtroom phone. The judge’s assistant/secretary answered the call and promptly handed the phone to the prosecution representative, as if it were a routine matter. At first, I even thought that both of them were court employees, but later, the judge introduced the prosecution representative to those present, mentioning only her last name without her first name and surname.

It’s worth noting that the benches for the public in courtroom № 15, where our hearing took place, were arranged in a very uncomfortable manner. They were placed very close to each other, so sitting was only possible in the front row and sideways, with legs in the aisle between the benches, or one would have to climb over them, which was clearly impossible to do; the rear rows of benches were occupied by boxes of documents.

It’s also important to note that throughout the entire hearing and before it began, whenever the counsel communicated with the defendant, the bailiffs stood as close as possible to them or deliberately approached and monitored their conversation, clearly from a distance at which they could hear everything the defendant discussed with the counsel.

The hearing was attended by the defendant, Tatuyko, his counsel, Anastasia Pilipenko, the victim, Dulskiy, and the prosecution representative, Garanina.

The judge verified the identity of the defendant, then verified the identity of the victim, explained the rules of the court session to all those present, and then informed the defendant and the victim of their rights. He then asked the defendant if he had submitted a motion for the case to be considered in a special procedure, and after receiving an affirmative answer, explained in detail the legal consequences of this move. The judge also asked for the consent of the parties and the victim for the case to be considered in a special procedure, and everyone agreed to this.

The prosecution stance: On March 2nd, the defendant participated in a protest against a special operation in the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR & LNR as transliteration to “ДНР”, “ЛНР” in Russian), committing an administrative offense under Part 1 of Article 20.2.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. The victim, Dulskiy, was performing his official duties to maintain law and order at the same event. At the moment when Dulskiy was apprehending another participant in the protest, the defendant, Tatuyko, grabbed Dulskiy around the waist and pulled him towards himself, after which he sprayed an unknown gaseous substance into Dulskiy’s face. With his actions, the defendant applied non-life-threatening violence against police officer Dulskiy and discredited the police in the eyes of the public.

After presenting the stance, the judge asked the defendant, Tatuyko, if he still supports his request for a special procedure and if he understood the charges, to which he received an affirmative response.

In his statement about the case, the defendant, Tatuyko, admitted his guilt and expressed remorse for his actions. He clarified that he had no intention of using violence, and his actions were not premeditated but were based on emotions and fear due to the harsh treatment of other participants in the protest. He stated that he had learned from his actions and considered them foolish. At the suggestion of his counsel, Tatuyko offered public apologies to the victim, Dulskiy, with the judge’s permission. Apologies were subsequently conveyed to Dulskiy.

During his responses to the counsel’s questions, the defendant mentioned that he supports his family, has been working since November, is enrolled in cinematography courses, and has engaged in charity work by organizing events in children’s homes in St. Petersburg, and expressed his desire to continue this charitable activity. When answering questions from the prosecution representative, he informed the court about his income level and stated his intention not to commit any further crimes.

The judge only asked him if he had any chronic illnesses, to which Tatuyko replied negatively.

In his statement, the victim, Dulskiy, fully reiterated the accusation stance. He added that as a result of being sprayed with a gas canister in the face, he lost his ability to work for several days. During his responses to the prosecution representative’s questions, he informed the court that he accepted the defendant’s apologies and then requested that a claim for compensation for moral damages in the amount of 50,000 rubles be attached to the case. The court granted this request with the consent of the other participants in the case, recognized Dulskiy as the civil claimant, explained his rights in this regard, and subsequently recognized Tatuyko as the civil defendant, also informing him of his rights. The judge asked the defendant for his opinion regarding the filed civil claim, and Tatuyko accepted the claim in its entirety, with his lawyer supporting this decision.

Furthermore, the prosecution representative requested the disclosure of the defendant’s personal information, including passport data, characteristics from the workplace/residence, and responses to inquiries regarding registration with medical dispensaries and any criminal record. It was disclosed that the defendant had a positive work-related characteristic, was not registered with medical dispensaries, had no criminal record, and had a satisfactory residence-related characteristic.

Additionally, the defense attorney submitted a positive character reference from the sports school “Vyborzhanin,” where Tatuyko had been training. The attorney also provided information that an appeal regarding the administrative offense under Part 1 of Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offense of Russia, which was mentioned in the accusation narrative, had been filed with the St. Petersburg City Court but was returned to the district court without consideration. It was unclear at that moment whether the resolution on this case had taken effect.

The defense attorney also asked the victim what he considered to be a fair punishment for the defendant, Tatuyko. Dulskiy stated that it should be in accordance with the law. The attorney asked him to clarify what specific punishment he had in mind, and after a third inquiry, the victim stated that Tatuyko deserved a strict punishment according to the law.

The closing arguments:

The prosecution representative quoted the prosecution stance and then stated that the offense was of medium severity, the defendant had admitted guilt, expressed remorse for his actions, and had requested a special procedure for the case. She mentioned that she did not believe it was necessary to dwell on the evidence in the case since it was clearly proven, given the defendant’s admission of guilt and the request for a special procedure. She asked the court to consider the victim’s opinion, the characteristics of the defendant, Tatuyko, and, in doing so, she did not see the possibility of applying either Article 64 or Article 73 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. She requested that Tatuyko be found guilty and sentenced to 2.5 years in a general-regime colony. She also supported the victim’s claim in its entirety and noted that Tatuyko’s actions had discredited the entire Ministry of Internal Affairs in the eyes of the public, not just the victim, Dulskiy.

The victim stated that he supported the position of the prosecution representative. He also mentioned that the defendant’s actions had discredited the entire Ministry of Internal Affairs, but only after the judge’s prompting.

The defendant, Tatuyko, declined to participate in the debates.

The defense attorney for Tatuyko stated that there were no aggravating circumstances in the case. She emphasized that the defendant had cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and essentially incriminated himself. She pointed out that the prosecution representative had provided information about all the positive characteristics of Tatuyko, the fact that he was not registered with medical dispensaries, had no prior criminal record, and yet, for some reason, did not consider the application of Article 73 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The attorney also noted that the victim did not file a claim for material damage, only for moral harm, which could suggest that the victim’s health had not been seriously affected, and he did not require significant medical treatment. The attorney further argued that on March 2nd, there were no mass disturbances, and the rally had not lost its peaceful nature. She stated that a non-custodial punishment would more effectively serve the interests of the victim and that there were substantial reasons to apply Article 73 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Additionally, she fully acknowledged the amount of the victim’s claim.

The judge, after the attorney’s statements, asked for remarks from the parties.

The prosecution representative’s remarks:

She insisted on a real deprivation of freedom for the defendant, Tatuyko, stating that his apologies could not compensate for the consequences of his actions and that insulting a representative of the authorities constituted a significant violation of the law.

In his closing statement, the defendant, Tatuyko, essentially repeated his previous statements regarding the case. He added that he had learned from his actions and had decided never to participate in mass public events again.

All of the events described above took place within a 49-minute timeframe.

We were invited back to the courtroom for the announcement of the verdict at 18:46, with the prosecution representative entering the courtroom approximately 30 minutes before that time.

The court’s verdict was to find the defendant, Tatuyko, guilty and sentence him to 1 year and 4 months of imprisonment in a settlement colony. Additionally, the court partially granted the civil claim filed by the victim, Dulskiy, and awarded him a sum of 10,000 rubles from the defendant, Tatuyko.

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