Judge for Metropolitan Pavlo's trial previously released drunk drivers unpunished
The former abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo (Lebid), who now serves in the UOC-MP, will be judged by Judge Svitlana Smyk of the Pechersk District Court in Kyiv, as reported by Glavkom.
The judge assignment process took place on Monday, October 23. Out of the 28 judges on the roster, only two female judges of the judiciary, Svitlana Smyk and Svitlana Shaputko, participated in the drawing. The rest of the judges were excluded from the drawing for various reasons: some were ill, some had less than two weeks before their vacation, and some lacked the specialization to handle such criminal cases.
It is worth noting that in May 2021, the Third Disciplinary Chamber of the High Council of Justice reprimanded Judge Svitlana Smyk and revoked her bonus for a month due to her systematic delay in handling cases involving drunk driving.
"Over the past two years, the judge has considered more than 300 cases of drunk drivers, and in 76% of cases, she delayed the proceedings and closed the cases due to the expiration of deadlines. Smyk is a vivid example of a judge who systematically released drunk drivers back onto the roads, putting us all in mortal danger, as she felt complete impunity," stated the public organization "Dejure Foundation."
Furthermore, Judge Smyk failed to see a conflict of interest in the case of former MP Illia Kiva, who was using his mandate for personal matters. In July 2020, Svitlana Smyk closed an administrative case against President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAZK) was trying to prosecute for the untimely reporting of changes in his e-declaration.
To remind, Metropolitan Pavlo is accused under two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Part 2 of Article 161 (violation of the equality of citizens based on their religious beliefs committed by an official repeatedly) and Part 3 of Article 436-2 (justification, recognition as lawful, or denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, committed by an official repeatedly).
The sanctions for these articles include up to eight years of imprisonment with property confiscation.
The investigation found that Metropolitan Pavlo repeatedly publicly denied the existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state. He also referred to the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine as a "civil conflict" that has been ongoing since 2014.
Initiated by the SBU, judicial linguistic expertise has confirmed the criminal actions of the cleric. In total, the criminal case against Metropolitan Pavlo consists of nine volumes and over 1,800 pages.
It's worth noting that in April of this year, the former abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo, received suspicion from the SBU. After posting bail of UAH 33.3 million and being released, he was subject to several obligations, including wearing an electronic bracelet, notifying investigators when leaving the village of Voronkiv in the Borispil district of Kyiv region, refraining from contacting witnesses and victims in the case, and complying with requests from investigators, prosecutors, and investigative judges when summoned.