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Deputy Public Defender Responsible for Hit-and-Run Car Accident ?

15.07.2008
Gela Mtivlisvili, Kakheti

The representatives of Kakheti Division of Patrol Police Department with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) leveled a fine of 300 GEL on Sopo Khorguani, Deputy Public Defender. The law enforcers fined her for having committed and administrative misdenemour, in particular for exceeding speed limit and damaging a car; the law enforcers wrote a protocol describing the facts of the case.

Sopo Khorguani was in Telavi several days ago and attended a training for Kakheti regional attorneys. Khorguani hit a car during her visit to Telavi. The car she was driving belongs to the Office of the Public Defender. However, instead of stopping and waitng for police to prepare a report, she simply disappeared from the scene of the accident. The Kakheti Division of Patrol Police Department of MIA then arrived to investigate a hit and run incident after having received a phone call informing them of the accident. They then started a search of the vehicle Khorguani was driving when the hit and run accident happened. Later, they finally found and detained the responsible person near Sagarejo and confiscated the vehicle that had been involved.

“We, the representatives of Patrol Police told the lady that she was driving the car that had hit a vehicle in the city of Telavi. She said she had nothing to do with the incident. She admitted that she was in Telavi at the time the incident occurred. However, she denied that she had hit a car. We checked the information on the car accident for the second time. We were told that a vehicle with government plate numbers had hit a car and left the crime scene. Khorguani was there when we called our head office and checked out the information. After this she told us she was Sopo Khorguani, Deputy Public Defender of Georgia. She presented her work ID and said that we had accused her mistakenly. She even threatened us that she would make a complaint against us with her chief and we would lose our jobs,” stated the representatives of Patrol Police.
The car was then confiscated and taken to a vehicle impoundment lot that belongs to the police.

The Deputy Public Defender commented on the incident as follows
“I could not find a hotel in Telavi. It was already about 20:30. There was no one in the street to be found, which was probably because of the bad weather. So I could not find anyone I could ask for the road to the hotel. Suddenly I noticed a car and people near a house. I came to them and asked how I could find to my hotel. They explained how to find the hotel. I put my car in reverse. The Patrol Police informed me later that I had hit a car. Probably I must have accidentally brushed up against the car when I was backing but I did not notice it at that time.

I was stopped by the Patrol Police in Sagarejo for exceeding speed limit. I agreed with the accusation and did not protest against it. I asked the patrol policepersons to write a fine document as soon as possible. The law enforcers were very nice to me. They asked for the information on the car from their head office and found out that the car was being sought.  This all was so unexpected for me that for a long time I thought it must have been some kind of staged TV joke.  The representatives of Patrol Police told me the car that I was driving was the one that they had been looking for because it had hit a car in Telavi. They proceeded to confiscate my car. I obeyed the police as I am a person who follows the law and besides my job responsibilities, it is necessary to encourage others obey to the law. Naturally I could not protest against the action of the police. They all were very polite to me and they were very sorry. They said, probably there had been some mistake,” stated Sopo Khorguani.

She also said that “Deputy Public Defender’s ID can be used only when the law is being infringed. The police was so nice to me that I truly believed Patrol Police had actually changed after the reform. However, this is only my own opinion. The truth is that I could not have threatened the police and showed my work ID as I don’t have such an ID.  I only have a document proving my authority, which I can use only in cases as prescribed by the law,” stated Deputy Public Defender and she expressed heartfelt gratitude towards Patrol police for their decency. “The action of patrol police filled me with a sense of civic dignity and responsibility,” concluded Khorguani in her statement.  


 

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