On October 17, the Kherson City Court reviewed the prosecutor’s request to extend the duration of a preventive measure in the form of detention for two suspects. Those two performed an assassination attempt on a Kherson activist, assistant to the mayor, Kateryna Handziuk. On July 31 she became a victim of an acid attack.

Torbin is left in the custody

The prosecution party appealed to the court with an application about continuing detention of alleged organizer of the assassination attempt on Handziuk Serhiy Torbin until December 3, 2018.

The prosecutor read out the entire text of the petition, alongside this, he substantiated the risks that may arise in the event of a milder preventive measure against Torbin. The prosecution believes that the suspect may hide from the bodies of the pre-trial investigation, influence other accomplices of the crime or the victim. Also, the prosecutor noted that it is necessary to wait for a number of expert appraisals carried out within the framework of the investigation.

Attorney of Serhiy Torbin Yuriy Khazov gave the court a number of positive characteristics and a copy of his client’s awards received in the ATO zone as a member of volunteer combat groups. The lawyer insisted on the inadequate evidence that gives the investigation and asked the court to choose “round-the-clock house arrest” for Torbin.

Torbin does not recognize his involvement in the attack on Handziuk. In the courtroom, he complained that no investigative procedures were conducted with him. According to him, other suspects “slandered” him deliberately. Torbin also added that if he wanted to kill Kateryna Handziuk, he would do it differently: he would shoot or blow up her since he has a great experience in combat and is skilled with weapon and explosives. Torbin was also outraged that other suspects (Vyshnevsky, Vasyanovich, and Horbunov – author’s note) were released under house arrest and he is kept in remand center.

Leaving the consultative room, the investigating judge Hontar stated: to satisfy the request of the prosecution and extend Serhiy Torbin’s preventive measure in the form of detention until December, 3 of this year.

Hrabchuk doesn’t mind sitting behind bars

An hour later, the Kherson City Court considered another petition in the case of Handziuk. The prosecutor asked to prolong the term of detention for Mykyta Hrabchuk suspected of a direct involvement in an assassination attempt.

A lawyer Dubeyko also requested around-the-clock house arrest for his client and provided the court with a certificate on the deterioration of Hrabchuk’s health.

The suspect himself acknowledged his guilt and stated it in the courtroom. He also expressed the opinion that it doesn’t matter to him what decision will be made by the investigating judge “Prolong it (detention – author’s note) or not, do as you want,” Hrabchuk said in the courtroom.

However, the decision on Hrabchuk wasn’t made by the court. The investigator made a number of mistakes in the filing of the petition. The judge pointed them out, after which he decided to postpone the meeting until October 18.

Рorbunov is placed under house arrest

Earlier, on October 16, Kherson City Court considered the case of another suspect in organizing an attack on Handziuk – Viktor Horbunov. According to the investigation, he had bought the acid with which the victim was attacked.

The prosecutor and the lawyer of the suspect requested to apply to Horbunov round-the-clock house arrest since from the very beginning the suspect has cooperated with the investigation and gives evidence. In addition, the prosecution considers his role in a crime as a minor one, because Horbunov had only bought acid and refused from further participation in the assault.

“I ask the court to make such a decision because I want to help my common-law wife to give birth to a healthy child. She is in her sixth month of pregnancy… I had no intent to do or even go to a criminal offense, I immediately gave all the evidence,” said Horbunov in court.

After consulting, the court granted the petition and changed the preventive measure from being held in custody to house arrest.

Background of the case

As it was already reported by Opinion, currently five people are suspected in an assassination attempt of Kateryna Handziuk. They are Serhiy Torbin, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, Vyacheslav Vyshnevskyi, Viktor Horbunov, and Mykyta Grabchuk. All of them are participants of combat operations in the ATO zone. The suspects served in the fifth separate battalion of the Volunteer Ukrainian Corps.

Vyshnevskyi, Vasyanovych, and Horbunov are under a house arrest. They recognized their complicity in the crime and gave testimony. In particular, they say that Serhiy Torbin offered them to attack Handziuk with acid, for it he promised a monetary reward.

After committing the crime, Vyshnevskyi, Hrabchuk, and Horbunov left the town of Oleshky, where they lived together in a rented apartment. They were detained in different cities. Vasyanovych and Torbin were arrested in Kherson at the bus station when they were trying to leave the city.

Text and photo by Ivan Antipenko

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