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Judge Did Not Let Attorney Into Court Room

15.12.2010

Natalia Sarkisashvili

Judge at the Dedoplistskaro district court Shorena Kavelashvili did not let the lawyer of the Human Rights Center Lia Khuroshvili into the court room; the lawyer had to defend the journalists at the trial yesterday. The lawyer arrived at the court one minute after the judge had entered the court room. The lawyer clarified to the court bailiff that she had warrant but Judge Shorena Kavelashvili refused to let her into the court room.

Reportedly, the member of the Dedoplistskaro municipal board and chairman of the commission for agricultural, environmental and property management issues Gela Tetrauli sued journalist Ilia Martkoplishvili for the disrespect and degrading his honor. He initially requested 10 000 GEL from the journalist as a reimbursement for his moral damage but later he reduced the requested compensation to 3 000 GEL. Tetrauli said the journalist had groundlessly blamed him in the misappropriation of the budget sums several times.

Journalist Ilia Martkoplishvili denies the accusation and claims that the public servant has groundless requirements to him.

Lawyer of the Human Rights Center Lia Khuroshvili took up the case to defend the rights of the journalist on December 14.

“I arrived at the court at 3:02 pm. The judge had entered the court room a minute before. It was the third court hearing of the case. I explained to the bailiff standing at the door of the courtroom that I was a lawyer of the Human Rights Center and represented the journalist. They informed the judge about my arrival but I saw Judge Shorena Kvaleashvili was waving her both hands to show that she was against letting me in. So, the bailiff blocked my way at the door and did not allow me to enter the courtroom. After the court hearing finished, journalist Ilia Martkoplishvili told me he had informed the judge that I was his attorney. Despite that, the judge did not let me in and I could not execute my rights as an attorney,” said lawyer Lia Khuroshvili.

The lawyer added that on November 29 the first court hearing started half an hour later; the second hearing on December 7 started 25 minutes later. In both cases the judge was late though she was not busy at any other court hearings.

“On November 29, the court hearing was postponed because the plaintiff Gela Tetrauli had provided the notification on his illness to the court. However, the copy of the notification was not handed to the defendant. On December 14, Ilia Martkoplishvili wrote application in my presence and requested the copy of this notification. The application was registered at the chancellery but the assistant to the judge refused to give the copy and asked the journalist to come to the court next day. I noted that they had to hand in the copy on November 29 but they said the Xerox machine did not work in the court building and could not make a copy of the notification. Then, Ilia Martkloplishvili submitted second application and requested permission to copy out the notification. They showed the notification to him only after that. Thus, we found out the real reason why they hid the notification from us. According to the notification # 1 425, which was issued on November 25, plaintiff Gela Tetrauli was taking medical treatment at the out-patients because of acute cholecystitis and was on sick-leave. The notification does not say that he could not attend the trial. Besides that, the doctors, who signed the notification, are the members of the Dedoplistskaro municipal board from the National Movement.

In accordance to the Article 229 of the Civil Procedural Code of Georgia, court shall pass correspondence judgment because of absence of the plaintiff and deny him/her to satisfy the suit as the notification did not say that plaintiff could not attend the court hearing. Ilia Martkoplishvili explained to the judge at the trial that Gela Tetrauli was traveling round the town during the weekend but the judge did not consider his statement,” said Khuroshvili.

Chairman of the Dedoplistskaro municipal board Levan Baghashvili was summoned to the trial of December 14 as a witness but he did not go there. Baghashvili explained his absence by his business-leave. He was attending the training organized by the state minister for reintegration.

Gela Tetrauli’s attorney Maia Demetradze said the plaintiff was ready to compromise but the journalist does not agree with it.

The next trial is scheduled at 3:00 pm on December 24. Supposedly, the judge will pass verdict on that day. 

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