The case on the attack on the journalists of “Our Money” is back in court


On 21st of March, the Kyiv Regional Court of Appeal has canceled the decision to drop the case on the obstruction of journalistic activity, battery, and robbery of the "Our Money" journalists. The case was handed back to be heard at the Svyatoshyn District Court of Kyiv. Previously, the court has dropped the case on 7th of February, on grounds of a forged document.

Three years ago, during the filming of a mansion belonging to the family of Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Chebotar in the village of Lisnyky, the journalists of “Our Money” were attacked by Chebotar’s son-in-law Oleh Polishchuk. The attack was filmed. Later, Oleh Polishchuk with the help of several young people assaulted the cameraman and stole the camera. A criminal proceeding was commenced on the fact of the attack on the journalists on two counts: the Criminal Code of Ukraine Article 186 Part 2 (“Robbery with violence”) and Article 171 Part 1 (“Deliberate obstruction of journalistic activities”).

Pre-trial investigation of the case lasted for two years. In 2016, Serhiy Zakharchenko, the investigator of the Irpin police department of the National Police, issued a statement on the closure of the case, on grounds that the actions of Chebotar’s son-in-law do not constitute a crime. But the police didn’t send this statement to the victims — the journalists of “Our Money”. Later it was established that the investigator Zakharchenko had neither closed the case nor had he signed any statements. This was his written testimony during an internal investigation by the Main Department of the National Police in Kyiv Region. On 30th of January 2017, subsequent criminal proceedings were opened on the fact of forgery of the case closure statement (Case №42017111200000043).

In February 2017 the case on the attack on journalists went to court. The court proceedings lasted for almost a year more. However, on the 7th of February 2018, the Svyatoshyn District Court of Kyiv dropped the case on grounds of the statement, which the investigator Serhiy Zakharcheno, according to the internal investigation materials, didn’t even sign. During a hearing Zakharchenko recanted his testimony and contrary to all his previous written explanations, he stated that he did, in fact, sign the statement on the closure of the case back in 2016. All of the additional questions (including about the necessary inclusion of the statement in the respective register) Zakharchenko answered with: “I don’t remember”. Thus, the court dropped the case on the basis of a copy of the statement.

On 21st of March, the panel of judges of the Kyiv Regional Court of Appeal canceled the decision to close the case of the attack on the journalists. The case was returned to the court of first instance.During the court session, judge Yuriy Sliva asked the prosecutor of the Kyiv region about the results of the investigation into the forgery of the signature on the decision to close the case. The prosecutor was not able to answer what investigative actions were carried out throughout the year the investigation of the fake document lasted.

Watch our report about how the investigators and the prosecutors tried to bury the case.

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