Cyanide Case Prosecutor Says Georgian Ombudsman Is Biased

Prosecutor of the notorious so-called Cyanide Case, Jarji Tsiklauri, has claimed that the Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili is biased. The case involves clergyman Giorgi Mamaladze, who was given a nine-year sentence for the attempted murder of the Patriarch’s secretary.

The Prosecutor’s statement came after Nanuashvili’s report on the high-profile case, which reads that despite the fact that a Tbilisi City Court judge held the court hearings without substantive procedural faults, it was impossible to correct the violations made in the investigation process, which made a decisive impact on the court's final verdict.

“It is clear that the Public Defender had a biased attitude from the very beginning,” Tsiklauri stressed, adding Nanuashvili had been deliberately spreading false information.

The Prosecutor also rejects the Ombudsman’s claims that he was refused access to the case materials by the Prosecutor’s office of Georgia (POG).

“His groundless criticism indicates his deep incompetence. He said that the prosecution did not conduct a number of investigative acts and did not gain additional evidence that the lawyers considered necessary,” said Tsiklauri.

He also noted that the Code of Criminal Procedure and the European Court of Human Rights guarantees the adversarial principle, which implies full freedom of the defense to conduct any investigative action independently from the prosecution.

“Mamaladze's interests were defended by six lawyers and none of them ever applied to the Prosecutor's Office for the conduct of any investigative action and/or examination,” he added.

The Prosecutor says that no one, including the Public Defender, has the right to interfere with the activities of the Prosecutor's Office or indicate which investigative action should be conducted and what should be done.

Tsiklauri also expressed hope that the Ombudsman will further restrain from making any such “incompetent” statements regarding the investigation.

Nanuashvili released his report on the case on November 15. He disapproved the closure of the hearing, adding the public had no opportunity to follow the developments and that the Public Defender’s Office was the only neutral body to monitor the case.

The Ombudsman said statements made by representatives of the authorities in relation to Giorgi Mamaladze violated the principal of the presumption of innocence.

“Statements made by public officials contributed to the creation of prejudice against Mamaladze long before his conviction,” Nanuashvili said.

The report also reads that the defense was placed in unequal conditions due to being obliged not to disclose the details of the case, which, according to the Public Defender, did not serve the goals of the procedural legislation and was superfluous and an unnecessary restriction.

“The violation of the equality of the parties was more evident when the Prosecutor's Office made the main evidence public and identified witnesses,” Nanuashvili stressed, adding the defense was deprived of the opportunity to request several examinations.

“A number of important issues were not considered in the guilty verdict, the burden of proof was transferred to the defendant and the reasonable doubt which arose during the assessment of the evidence was directed against the defendant, which contradicts the Constitution,” the Ombudsman stressed at the presentation of the report.

The lawyers of the convicted archpriest are to submit the Public Defender's conclusion to the Court of Appeal as evidence.

Lawyer Mikheil Ramishvili believes that if this report is submitted, the European Court of Human Rights will make a decision in favor of the defense. According to him, the judge did not deliver the verdict independently. “He fulfilled an order,” he said.

Father Giorgi Mamaladze, arrested in February, was charged with planning a murder and was sentenced to nine years in prison by Tbilisi City Court Judge Besik Bugianishvili in early September.

The judge declared Mamaladze guilty for preparing to murder the Georgian Patriarch’s Secretary, Shorena Tetruashvili by means of cyanide.

16 November 2017 19:14