In normal times, one of our major programmes provides justice for homeless and vulnerable young people in Tbilisi, Georgia. During the Corona virus crisis, our lawyer is working from home and the court system is seriously disrupted. Here is a reminder of one of our successful cases.
When we got involved, Vladimir had been arrested and charged with Deliberate Bodily Harm and was facing up to eight years in prison. The case file showed that Vaska had been visiting Vladimir, they quarrelled and Vladimir inflicted severe bodily harm on him.
In fact, the situation was different: Vladimir was at home with his wife, Lika, and child when he heard a scuffle. He found his brother-in-law, Vaska, drunk and abusing the neighbours. He had wounded one of them. Vaska then broke into Vladimir’s house, took a knife, ran away and verbally assaulted the family. This was repeated several times. Vladimir tried to calm him down, but in vain. He finally broke through the door, rushed into Vladimir’s house, cursed and terribly humiliated Lika. Vladimir could not tolerate this and injured Vaska. In spite of our many attempts, none of the neighbours gave testimony (nor did they come forward as a witness), as there are Gypsies living in the area, including Vaska, and their testimony against him was unacceptable. This made it very difficult for the defence to handle the case fairly: no arguments, no witnesses, practically nothing left to defend.
On the basis of our expert opinion, the degree of bodily injury inflicted on Vaska was found to be mild, so the offence was reclassified as intentional bodily injury, with a maximum 2 year prison sentence. If the victim (Vaska) had no claim, the case would be terminated. We met Vaska’s lawyers (he was under arrest) requesting that Vaska give a true testimony and not aggravate Vladimer’s situation. The lawyers did not agree to this. Vaska has been treated at a mental hospital several times in the past. We petitioned the court to have Vaska given a medical psychiatric examination. This found that Vaska was abusive, unable to control his actions and needed treatment. The Court upheld all of this and found that Vladimir’s actions were not pre-meditated. Vladimir was not sentenced to prison and was released from the courtroom. Vaska was taken to hospital for treatment.