I. Basysta D. Yosyfovych
The problems of litigation stages become ever more pressing for their participants, as amendments to the criminal procedural legislation in effect are very frequent. The developing a legal position on one or the other law-related situation, to say nothing about exclusive legal issues, is not something that can be done in a day, and the situation where the judges do not have the same position on an issue is especially upsetting. The legal issue of ability (inability) by the accused, by the convicted to withdraw the appeal or cassation appeal of the defense lawyer is one of those.
The fact is obvious and undeniable that in the court practice, this issue was already being resolved multiple time, yet no clear single legal position was developed for the problem. Thus, the panel of judges of the Second Judicial Chamber of the Court in its decision as of 10.05.2018 in case No. 462/4125/16к (proceedings No. 51-357км17) concluded that, by virtue of the requirements of Part 1 of Art. 403, Art. 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, the petition of the convicted person to refuse the cassation appeal of the defense lawyer cannot be considered in the court of cassation, since another person applied, and not the person who filed the complaint. At the same time, the decision of 03.07.2018 of the panel of judges of the First Court Chamber of the Cassation Criminal Court of the Supreme Court (case No. 448/208/15к, proceedings No. 51-3132км18) contains the opposite conclusion. In particular, that the suspect, the accused or the convicted person has the right to carry out procedural actions and refuse a complaint filed in his interests, unless the participation of a defense lawyer is mandatory or the person is in such a vulnerable position that calls into question the voluntariness of such actions. Similar legal positions have been expressed in other judgments of the Court. Due to the disagreement of the panel of judges of the Second Judicial Chamber with such conclusions, on September 17, 2020, the decisions of this situation were submitted to the Joint Chamber for consideration, and a corresponding appeal was sent to the members of the Scientific Advisory Council. My own considerations, as a member of the Scientific Advisory Council at the Supreme Court, were set out in the scientific opinion of 25.12.2020, so I will try to share them also with the scientific community and a wide range of practicing lawyers.
Based on the results of the scientific and practical search, it was proved that the current statement of Part 1 of Art. 403 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine requires immediate alignment with the procedural rights of a suspect, accused, convicted person, acquitted person. As well as a defense attorney and with the requirements of such principles of criminal proceedings as discretion, ensuring the suspect, the accused have the right to defense, the adversarial nature of the parties and the freedom to present their evidence and in proving their credibility before the court. The criminal procedural law cannot and should not provide for the obligatory refusal of a cassation appeal by a defense attorney, presented in the interests of an accused, a convicted person, exclusively by the same person – a defense attorney. The participation of a defense attorney in criminal proceedings does not limit the procedural rights of both the suspect, the accused, and the convicted, acquitted. The accused, the convicted person has the right to withdraw the appeal or cassation complaint of the defense lawyer. Restriction of the right to withdraw an appeal or cassation complaint of a defense attorney by an accused or a convicted person may take place in two cases. In particular, if there are grounds for the mandatory participation of a defense attorney in criminal proceedings. And/or if the defense attorney proves that he/she has a justified conviction about the fact of self-incrimination by the accused or convicted , which gives him grounds to take a position that will be different from the will of the accused, convicted, including when appealing court decisions in the appeal and cassation procedure.
Key words: appeal proceeding, revision in cassation, appeal (cassation) complaint, withdrawal of appeal (cassation) complaint, defender, an accused, a convicted.