MOSCOW, August 1 - RAPSI. The verbatim quotation of witnesses testimonies at high-profile trials in the media may be detrimental to judicial proceedings. Therefore these trials ought to be held behind closed doors, government representative in higher courts Mikhail Barshchevsky told the Russian Legal Information Agency on Tuesday.
"A verbatim transcript of witness testimony is harmful to administering justice," claims Barshchevsky. Witnesses who have not yet been interrogated can find out from the media what other witnesses have told the court and may amend their own testimony accordingly, he believes.
"Therefore, the openness of trial is achieved at the expense of its adversarial nature," said Barshchevsky. In view of this, the judge is entitled to conduct the proceedings in private until all witnesses are interrogated. Only then may the transcript be published.
However, he noted that criminal legislation does not directly forbid witness testimonies from being broadcasted or published if the trial is open. Barshchevsky also referred to the U.S. practice prohibiting the photographing and broadcasting of trials, allowing only their retelling and drawings in the media.
On Monday, Moscows Khamovnichesky District Court prohibited the online broadcast of the witnesses interrogation and evidence examination in the Pussy Riot case, in which the band members were charged with disorderly conduct in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.