Statement by Public Defender’s Office on Ineffective Investigation into T.M’s Death
On December 5, 2022, the Public Defender applied to the Prosecutor General of Georgia about the ineffectiveness of the investigation into the death of citizen T.M. and elimination of shortcomings in the investigation. The case study revealed that the investigation had not been conducted in accordance with human rights standards, thereby violating the citizen's right to life (positive obligation of the State).
T.M. died in a car accident in July 2018. Only one person was charged with violation of traffic safety or exploitation rules.
Despite the above, a number of unexplained and suspicious circumstances in the case indicate probable commission of another crime against T.M. before the traffic accident, which could also be in a cause-and-effect relationship with the death of the citizen. In particular, according to the case materials, T.M., before the traffic accident, called for help by telephone, stating that he was wounded. It is also known that before his death he was at a party with other persons, where incidents or alleged crimes took place. After that, he was run over by a car while lying on the road.
The investigation, which was launched in 2018, failed to conduct a number of relevant and necessary investigative and procedural actions to establish key circumstances, including complex trasological and medical-criminological examinations in order to establish the direction of the injury on T.M.'s head and the object causing the injury. No chemical examination has been conducted either; no important questions have been asked to witnesses; no photographs or other information have been obtained from the relevant mobile phones.
The investigation has not examined the significant circumstances that would have revealed or denied all alleged crimes committed against T.M. and the person(s) responsible. It has not been established until now whether T.M.'s injuries were caused only by the vehicle or he was injured before the accident as well.
Unfortunately, as of today, it is impossible to carry out specific investigative actions, which is why many mistakes made in the investigation cannot be corrected anymore. For example, it is no longer possible to describe the detailed characteristics of the accident site, to determine the width of the highway or the exact location of the deceased on it. It is not established where exactly the knife and blood-like and whitish-brownish viscous substance stains were found, in particular how far they were from the roadside, or where the car that ran over T.M. was found, or whether there were any traces on the asphalt pavement left by the tires as a result of braking, etc.
The Public Defender’s Office hopes that the Prosecutor General’s Office, within the shortest possible time, will take effective measures to conduct all the investigative/procedural actions that are still possible to be conducted at this stage. We also hope that the Prosecutor General’s Office will consider the launch of an investigation and implementation of relevant investigative activities relating to the alleged indifference of the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who carried out the investigation, as well as the prosecutor in charge of the procedural guidance.