Review of Cases of Administrative Offences
The Public Defender of Georgia, like the previous years, analyzed the cases of administrative offencesreviewedby common courts and discussed the issue in detail in the parliamentary report 2015. Like the previous years, the Public Defender emphasized the need for the development of a new code of administrative offences.
The analysis revealed several positive trends, but the shortcomings that accompany the process of administrative proceedings remain unchanged. The Public Defender, like the previous reporting years, indicates that the current Administrative Code cannot meet the criteria of a normative act. The Code includes vague records; the lack of standards negatively affects the review of administrative cases by common courts.
It is a positive fact that administrative detention is barely used. The courts do not hold persons responsible for minor violations.
The largest part of the rulings is of a formulaic nature, is not justified and meets only the standard of formal legality. Most of the rulings provides direct disposition of the norms and lacks judge's reasoning. They largely include information provided only by the person who drew up a protocol, and often, without judge’s justification, ignores the explanations of alleged perpetrators, which leads to the infringement of the right to grounded decision-making. The examined cases include facts of violation of the presumption of innocence and wrong interpretation of the burden of proof.
Survey of materials by judges, to a large extent, is limited to checking of accuracy of formal legality of the protocols drawn up by police officers. Courts, as a rule, do not examine the grounds on which police officers suspect that detainees use drugs. This leaves the legality of gaining main evidence beyond attention. The rulings often do not provide the list of evidence. They indicate only general reference and rarely provide drug test report number and date.
We welcome the fact that the governmental commission, set up for the promotion of reforms in the administrative offence system, presented a new draft code. It should be noted that the Public Defender participates in the work of the governmental commission. Despite the issues that require further refinement, the proposed draft document ensures protection of human rights better than the applicable code and we hope that it will soon be submitted to the Parliament as a bill.