16:11 24.02.2021

Activist Sternenko is in Odesa detention centre until judgement comes into force – prosecutor

4 min read
Activist Sternenko is in Odesa detention centre until judgement comes into force – prosecutor

Head of Odesa Regional Prosecutor's Office Serhiy Kostenko said all the guarantees of protection of activist Serhiy Sternenko during the trial were observed, the totality of the evidence provided allowed the court to pass a guilty verdict, Sternenko is being held in Odesa pretrial detention centre until the judgement comes into force.

Kostenko said at a briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday that Sternenko and the second person involved in the case, Ruslan Demchuk, were found guilty of kidnapping a man, Serhiy Scherbach, illegal imprisonment of his freedom, robbery and illegal possession of firearms.

The regional prosecutor said that until the entry into force of the judgement, a preventive measure in the form of detention is in force against Sternenko.

According to Kostenko, the judgement should already be made public in the Unified register of court decisions on Wednesday.

Commenting on the information that the defense is asking for the transfer of Sternenko from Odesa pretrial detention centre to Kyiv due to a possible threat to life, the prosecutor said that these requests for the defense had been submitted to Odesa pretrial detention centre.

"They will be considered by the management of this detention center in accordance with the law on ensuring the safety of persons who take part in criminal proceedings. According to the law, they have three days to consider this issue, respectively, this will be considered and a motivated answer will be given on the existence of appropriate grounds [for transfer Sternenko to Kyiv from Odesa pretrial detention centre]," he said.

Speaking about the conditions of Sternenko's detention, the prosecutor said these were "conditions of the pretrial detention centre," but did not specify whether there was any threat to Sternenko.

Commenting on the information allegedly that Sternenko is no longer in the pretrial detention centre, Kostenko said: "He is in Odesa pretrial detention centre."

As for the information about the judge who passed the conviction of Sternenko and his personal qualities, the regional prosecutor said he takes a position that the prosecution can talk about the essence of the case.

"Everything else, especially on the part of the regional prosecutor, can be considered pressure on the court, and I cannot comment on this," he said.

Kostenko also said he sees no reason to speak of "a sharp intensification" of the consideration of the Sternenko case by the court. According to him, the case was indeed submitted to court back in January 2016. The prosecutor said that after the examination of the written evidence by the court, a problem arose with the appearance of the victim in court and his interrogation at the hearing. The victim, according to the prosecutor, appeared in court in October 2020.

"He gave testimony, in which he explained that he received threats from certain persons who demanded that he change his position in the criminal case, due to which he changed his place of residence, accordingly the court summons [...] did not reach him. The prosecutor took measures to establish the whereabouts of the victim, and he was handed a summons, after which he appeared in court," Kostenko said.

Commenting on the information about the lack of an adequate evidence base in the Sternenko case, the prosecutor said: "I want to emphasize that all the guarantees for the defense were observed. We tried, as the prosecutor's office, to comply with the adversarial process as much as possible [...] the body of evidence examined by the court [...] allowed the prosecutor's office take a position regarding the presence of corpus delicti and evidence against Sternenko and Demchuk. "

Explaining the amount of UAH 300 appearing in the verdict, whether it was a concomitant one or the purpose of abducting the victim, the regional prosecutor said: "In the wording of the charge that we supported in court, the purpose of abducting the victim Scherbach was an attempt to force him to terminate his social powers, first of all. During this abduction, there was also the theft of property that was with him. Since he really had 300 UAH, SIM cards and a weapon permit, they took it away from him. Accordingly, the qualification for a property crime provides that we can talk about this composition of crimes in terms of property damage for the victim."

Thus, as the regional prosecutor said, the stolen amount of the stolen funds is not decisive for qualification under the "Robbery" article.

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