The Public Defender addresses the Kutaisi Court of Appeals with an Opinion of the Friend of the Court (Amicus Curiae)
In May 2011, the Public Defender received an application of citizen M.L. According to the applicant, the Zugdidi Regional Court had found that his truck was an instrument of crime committed by other persons and handed it to the state in accordance with Article 52 (seizure of property) of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
The applicant asked the Public Defender of Georgia to help him restore his violated right to property, because he considered that his property had been seized in violation of the requirements of the legislation. The aforementioned verdict was appealed by the convicts in the Kutaisi Court of Appeals.
As a result of the analysis of the enclosed materials and those requested by the Public Defender, on June 6, 2011, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Kutaisi Court of Appeals with an Opinion of the Friend of the Court. The opinion reviewed the standards determined by the Constitutional Court of Georgia and the European Court of Human Rights with which the cases of seizure of property must comply. The opinion also thoroughly reviewed the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code of Georgia and the general standards about the instrument of crime, weapon or an object designed to commit a crime.
The June 21, 2010 verdict of the Kutaisi Court of Appeals approved a bargain plea between the convicts and the prosecutor. By the same verdict, the truck was returned to applicant M.L. The verdict of the Zugdidi Regional Court also returned a truck which had been transferred to state ownership to another person whose right to property, like the applicant M.L.’s, had been restricted.
The Public Defender of Georgia was granted the authority to submit Opinions of the Friend of the Court by the changes made to the Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender of Georgia on July 21, 2010. In the framework of the said competence, the Public Defender can address the court and submit his opinion regarding an issue under consideration which will be designed to help the court, not to support the position of any party.