Archive for December 11th, 2017

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Saakashvili granted unconditional bail

December 11, 2017

As predicted a few days ago Misha Saakashvili has been released from custody while the criminal case against him continues.

The reasons why his release was so predictable?

“No doubt he will not be incarcerated for long.

Conditional bail would seem a probable outcome – house arrest, or a large financial commitment, or an electronic tag, or a combination thereof.  Perhaps even unconditional bail.  Whatever the outcome, it will not be time in jail.  The appearance of proportionality, despite the intensity of dislike for Mr Saakashvili by the President, will have to be observed if the international community are to remain mute over the matter.”

The court, via Judge Larisa Tsokol, released Mr Saakashvili on unconditional bail.

In short there are no restrictions upon his liberty other than that of surrendering himself to the court at the next scheduled hearing.

The application by the prosecution for house arrest was denied.

The general guideline for when a court grants bail is that it is by default unconditional.

Conditions are generally only applied if there is a continuing risk of further offending, or of absconding, or of harm to any victim(s) or to the public.  Naturally if the risks are deemed too great for any conditions to be reasonably enforceable, then remand is the solution rather than bail.

So, was the prosecutor’s request for 24 hour house arrest proportional?  Would it have been preventative?

Thus far it appears Mr Saakashvili is being investigated for being part of an organised crime network – the only evidence in the public realm purporting to involve Mr Saakashvili personally being SIGINT – telephone interceptions.  Of course there may be more that is not (yet) in the public realm.

Would 24 hour house arrest prevent MR Saakashvili using the telephone to continue to allegedly conspire with a wanted man currently hiding within Russia?  Clearly not, so the risk of his further offending is diminished how by 24/7 house arrest?

A reader would naturally question the risk of his absconding.  Mr Saakshvilli illegally entered Ukraine to further his agenda within.  With an ego such as his, and an agenda that he will attempt to advance, there seems little reason to anticipate his absconding – particularly when he claims the allegations are bunkum.  If his is certain that is the case, then every court appearance he makes is simply another PR opportunity for him.

The alleged victim in this case is The State.  Now there will be many that will argue Mr Saakshvili has and may continue to harm The State through his actions – and there will be just as many that will adamantly disagree.  Whatever the case, it is difficult to see how 24/7 house arrest would prevent his ability to further his agenda – whether that harms The State or not.  It would prevent only his physical participation at events – not the organising, promotion, or any virtual attendance at them.

The rationale behind the prosecution’s conditional bail request is therefore open to the question.

However, in a case that has, and will continue to retain a certain amount of international media attention – notwithstanding a watchful diplomatic eye – with the Ukrainian leadership making claims of judicial reform and progress in the application of rule of law, there is perhaps more to be lost in “generously viewing” and thus granting the prosecutor’s request, than there is to be gained by refusing the prosecutor’s requests and sticking with the general guidelines relating to bail.

There are matters of perception in such a high visibility case.  After all, the case continues and an impeccable due process must be seen to be done.

Lady Justice of Ukraine is upon the international stage once more.  That she may peep from behind her blindfold and glance at her appearance as others gaze upon her is perhaps not that unexpected.  Every lady likes to look er best.

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