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Court begins substantive hearing into Moscow "VIP crash"

January 09, 2013, 13:36 UTC+3

The Citroen collided with a Mercedes S-500 carrying LUKOIL company vice president. The Citroen's driver and her passenger were killed in the crash

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MOSCOW, January 9 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Gagarinsky court on Wednesday began substantive hearings of the criminal case over the car crash in Moscow's Leninsky Prospekt /Avenue/. Judge Olga Zeldina refused to recuse herself following a statement by the father of Olga Alexandrina, one of the two crash victims. The judge dismissed his arguments that the case could not be reviewed until the introduction of amendments into criminal legislation to regulate legal proceedings in case of defendant's death.

The road accident in Leninsky Prospekt, which the mass media called "VIP Crash", occurred on February 25, 2010. The Citroen driven by Moscow region resident Olga Alexandrina collided with a Mercedes S-500 carrying LUKOIL vice president Anatoly Barkov. Barkov was hospitalized.

The Citroen's driver and her passenger Prof. Vera Sidelnikova were killed in the crash. They worked in the Kulakov obstetrics research centre. They were driving to work, when the road accident occurred. The Investigative Committee later closed the probe saying Alexandrina had caused the crash. The probe was dropped due to the death of the injured partly.

Earlier, the Constitutional Court met the action by Alexandrina's family. It said the norms of the criminal procedure code that allow for dropping criminal prosecution in connection with the suspect's death without the consent of her close relatives insisting on rehabilitation of the diseased person did not conform to the Constitution. The court ordered the relevant amendments to the criminal procedure code.

Lawyer Igor Trunov, who represents the interest of Alexandrina's father stated recusal of the judge, claiming bias in her refusal to suspend the proceedings until the approval of the amendments that regulate proceedings in case of the defendant’s death. The lawyer said the amendments had already been sent to the State Duma and that the house could review them later this month.

"The attempt to review the case without these amendments will lead to biased trial and arbitrary and illegal interpretation of Constitution's directions," the lawyer stated.

Trunov's colleague Lyudmila Aivar added that the effective legislation does not envision the existence of "representative of the diseased defendant." "I cannot even tell who we are: defenders of Alexandrina or her father, representatives of lawyers. Hence discrimination in the case review," she said.

After hearing the lawyer, Barkov's representative Garri Mirzoyan categorically opposed the petition to recuse Judge Zeldina and delay the case review. The prosecutor took a similar position. "The arguments by Alexandrin's representatives on suspending the review were considered during preliminary investigation," the prosecutor said.

In the autumn of 2012, Trunov and Aivar said in a statement "the preliminary investigation bodies have not carried out a probe into the case properly; the evidence in favor of Alexandrina is illegally and unjustifiably rejected or destroyed /maliciously or otherwise is a matter of separate check/. The charges are based on contradicting and inconsistent evidence with which the investigators are trying to protect the true culprit from justice, and deprive the real victims   Alexandrina and Sidelnikova   of the right to defense and reimbursement of damage."







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