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Court to question forensic expert in fatal punch case on August 16

August 15, 2012, 8:12 UTC+3
The court said the arguments regarding Zotova's bias were unsubstantiated and unconfirmed
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MOSCOW, August 14 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Zamoskvorechye court will question expert Sergei Leonov at the trial of athlete Rasul Mirzayev, following the resolution to reopen inquest, judge Andrei Fedin said.

"The hearing is set for 14:00, August 16," Fedin said. Initially, the judge designated August 15 as the date of questioning, but the lawyer of the relatives of deceased student Ivan Agafonov reminded that the young man died after Mirzayev's blow overnight to August 15, 2011. "Commemorative events are planned to mark the anniversary of Ivan's death, so I ask you not to hold the hearing," lawyer Oksana Mikhalkina said adding that she would be busy at another trial on that day.

Earlier, Fedin turned down the injured parties' petition to recuse the prosecutor, Yulia Zotova, who had asked to soften the charges against Mirzayev.

The court said the arguments regarding Zotova's bias were unsubstantiated and unconfirmed.

Fedin noted that the representative of the injured parties has not named the grounds envisioned for recusal of the prosecutor, and that the court has not seen such grounds either.

He reminded that the prosecutor's request to soften the charges is not a valid reason for recusal.

"We have reasons to believe that the prosecutor, directly or indirectly, is interested in the outcome of the case," lawyer Oksana Mikhalkina insisted earlier in the day.

During the arguments of the parties, the prosecutor violated the injured parties' rights, dropping the charges against Mirzayev and asking the court not to jail him. She obstructed the injured parties' rights to participation in the arguments, the lawyer argued.

For her part, Zotova asked not to meet the injured parties' petition. The law envisions a complete list of reasons for recusal, whereas the injured parties have not presented even one such reason. Second prosecutor Andrei Sergeyev, who attended the trial for the first time on Tuesday, said "recusal is premature" at this stage of the proceedings.

Mirzayev's lawyer Alexei Grebensky called the injured parties' statement "a show of emotions." "Their recusal is based only on emotions and is not substantiated from the legal viewpoint," he said.

"The prosecutor’s actions do not raise questions with the defense and the accusations of interest have been brought forward without any reasons, Grebensky said.

"I have been watching the prosecutor's work throughout the trial and have seen that she has been investigating the case properly," defendant Rasul Mirzayev said.

Moscow's Zamoskvorechye court was to have passed the verdict in the case on Tuesday, but had to take a pause because Sergei Leonov, a forensic studies center expert, had not turned up at the hearing.

Mirzayev's lawyer asked the court to help hear out his testimony.

The expert is to clarify if there is causal relationship between Mirzayev's punch and Agafonov death, and also if Mirzayev had used his professional skills.

Mirzayev, 26, a sambo Russian and world champion, is accused of "malicious infliction of grave harm to health which resulted in the victim's death by negligence." If convicted, he might face up to 15 years in prison. The investigator said the punch Mirzayev had thrown at Agafonov caused the latter’s death in a conflict near a nightclub.

The fatal incident occurred in Brodnikov Pereulok in central Moscow on August 15, 2011. Student Ivan Agafonov was rushed to hospital after a blow struck by Mirzayev near the Garage nightclub and died several days later without regaining consciousness.

"Mirzayev, using professional skills and sport training, deliberately delivered one pointed blow with his left hand in Agafonov's face," according to the case materials.

Several expert examinations were carried out within the case, which showed that the death had been caused by a fall onto asphalt after a powerful blow. Mirzayev turned himself in to police the next day after the incident.

The defendant pleaded not guilty.

During the arguments of the parties prosecutor Yulia Zotova asked the court to soften the charges against Mirzayev. She said the medical expert examination had not found causal relationship between the athlete’s blow and Agafonov's death.

Also, she referred to the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution and doctors of the hospital where Afgafonov had died. Witnesses said that after the blow, Agafonov said he was feeling OK and that despite the headache, he could move on his own and even declined emergency medical assistance.

The prosecutors asked the court to punish Mirzayev by two-year restriction of freedom. The injured parties said they were absolutely opposed to the prosecutor's position.



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