Ekaterina, one might say, has accomplished the impossible. Thanks to her, Fyodor Ivanov, a resident of Tuapse, was acquitted of double murder. The jury acquitted him unanimously.
This is an unprecedented case with such a serious article. Moreover, the guy was paid moral compensation for two years of imprisonment and torture – 3 million rubles. A part of the documentary project was devoted to this case, a book was written about the process, a program and a talk show with a polygraph were released. Lawyer Ekaterina Antonova told about this unique case, which became a test for her, and the little secrets of her work.
Proved that he was tortured
Seven years ago, Ekaterina Antonova undertook to defend Fyodor Ivanov, accused of murdering an elderly woman and her son. On the day of the crime on May 28, 2016, a 28-year-old dairy warehouse worker was simply seen near the house of the victims, but this was enough for law enforcement officers. The investigation found that the guy beat his mom's neighbors with a hammer for the sake of 5 thousand rubles. Fedor denied everything, but then, under pressure, wrote a confession.
Experience and intuition prompted Catherine to take up his defense. She immediately believed in his innocence and at the first visit to the Tuapse detention center found confirmation of the words of the defendant, which others did not see or did not want to notice. It helped that she accidentally witnessed Fyodor's communication with the investigator in the presence of a local lawyer - they unexpectedly arrived at the IVS.
"Although it is impossible to interrupt the lawyer's meeting with the client, the investigator did it and began to carry out investigative actions right in front of me," recalls Ekaterina Antonova. - And just at that moment I noticed that Fyodor has no skin on the wrist joints. Thanks to my first higher education, I know human physiology and anatomy well, and I realized approximately how long ago these traces appeared on his body. I immediately forced Fyodor to take off his clothes so that he could be examined in the IVS right in front of the investigator and the second lawyer. They didn't expect this from me and were discouraged by my assertiveness. They haven't had this before. As a result, I achieved my goal and recorded traces of torture on Fyodor's body in the protocol, which was signed, including by his first lawyer."
"The methods used to obtain Fedor's confession were illegal and simply terrible," the lawyer continues. - For example, people were brought to him who possess painful techniques, from which a person can admit guilt in anything. A specially trained hypnotist psychiatrist was also invited. And so on."
Released right in the courtroom
She found other evidence of the guy's innocence. She managed to get his cell phone, which saved points of movement in the "cloud". His route on the day of the murder contradicted the expert data on the time of death of the victims. The fact that he could not have been at the crime scene at that moment was also indicated by the testimony of his acquaintances. The lawyer also found out that 7 thousand rubles of debt were returned to Fedor on the eve of the murder. And he was just charged that his motive was the theft of 5 thousand rubles, which had to be paid for a loan. As a result of careful comparison of all the evidence, serious inconsistencies in the case became apparent.
In April 2018, the jury of the Krasnodar Regional Court unanimously acquitted Fyodor Ivanov, who was released right in the courtroom. This is a rare case with such a grave article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and it has, without exaggeration, shocked many people associated with the law enforcement system. Moreover, Themis again took the side of the guy on his claim for moral compensation for the nightmare he experienced.
Gave hope to innocent convicts
At the beginning of 2020, the court decided to recover 3 million rubles from the state in favor of Fyodor Ivanov. This is also an unprecedented case, even taking into account the fact that the guy asked to pay him 10 million. Both sides were unable to challenge the decision in higher instances. It was possible to sue further, but 6 years of litigation so exhausted Fyodor Ivanov that he did not want to continue them. According to Ekaterina Antonova, a creative approach helped her to achieve victory in this case, on which the practical application of legal knowledge greatly depends. This will not be taught at the university. Also, in her work on the protection of the Tuapse citizen, media materials about this criminal case, which were published by AIF, also played a big role. At the same time, the wide publicity of everything that happened gave hope to many other people.
With the help of the media, we have conveyed to many that we should not give up. One of the series of the documentary project entitled "Innocently Convicted" was dedicated to this case, a book was recently written about this process in Moscow. There was also a release of the program "In Fact", in which I participated together with Fedor and my colleague Alexander Valyavsky. We were not looking for fame and took part in the filming to put a bold end to this story. The talk show on which Fyodor passed the polygraph also confirmed his innocence."
According to her, the outcome of this case was long-awaited for their professional community. The lawyers were convinced that they were creating an acquittal practice in Russian legal proceedings with their own hands. Against the background of global statistics, we have so far passed few sentences in favor of the accused, although the situation is gradually changing, which was also facilitated by changes in legislation. A few years ago, juries began to participate in courts not only at the regional, but also at the district level. By the way, Ekaterina Antonova herself helps to improve regulations. For example, she is currently involved in the work on the draft amendments to the law on advocacy, and is also an activist of the public organization "Support of Russia".
"Even if a person has committed a crime, this does not mean that he does not need to be protected," says Ekaterina Antonova. - The lawyer protects the principal from not being credited with anything superfluous. After all, the punishment may be illegal if, for example, a person has committed a crime, the punishment for which may be two years, and he was given seven years. A lawyer can be called a guide in a lawsuit, who explains to his participant the consequences of certain steps. I literally live a part of his life with each client, and at the same time I keep several stories in my head at once, which requires a huge expenditure of energy. Many people do not think about this side of the lawyer's work when they ask questions about the reasons for high fees."
Before and after the status
The reasons for admiration of Ekaterina Antonova's professional successes are added by the fact that she is a mother of four children and, in fact, initially wanted to devote her life to sports.
She received the first of her several higher educations at the Krasnodar University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, from which she graduated with a red diploma. At the same time, she was seriously engaged in rowing and was part of the Russian national team with the prospect of participating in the Olympic Games. Then I decided to link my life with the law, but the sports experience was very useful in this case. He developed in her perseverance, determination and a desire to achieve victory in a fair fight. Having become skilled as an ordinary lawyer, she felt ready to become a lawyer and after the necessary tests received this status in 2013. Krasnodar admits that in many ways she was driven by personal circumstances."Ten years ago I was already a mother of many children and for some reason I believed that when I became a lawyer, I would have more time for my family," says Ekaterina Antonova. - But this profession completely absorbed me, and I began to work sometimes almost around the clock. As a result, my life was divided into the period before obtaining the status of a lawyer and the time after it. One day I caught myself thinking that I could no longer do without this job and that it had become a way of my life. I started getting adrenaline from participating in the courts."
There were provocations and attempts
The first years of working as a lawyer were hard for her morally, because judges often reacted very sharply to her fighting spirit. They allowed themselves rude words to her and her principals, who were then sometimes taken to the hospital with heart attacks. The lawyer notes that at that time such behavior of people in robes was considered normal, but now their manners have become better largely due to the development of technology and the level of communication. Now everyone understands that his actions can be recorded and made public. Although the changes and experience did not completely rid her of her worries. By nature, she cannot work remotely, and besides, she is sure that emotions help her a lot to convey her message to the judge.
More than 1000 cases have already passed through it, and the success rate is very high. Dozens of times she has sought to terminate the investigation against her clients due to the lack of corpus delicti and also has two acquittals in court in her luggage. The experience of Ekaterina Antonova shows that the work of a lawyer requires not only a lot of effort, but also can be dangerous. For 10 years, she has repeatedly faced surveillance, provocations and even attempts on herself. But she herself does not like to remember about it and tries to think more about the positive aspects of her profession. The main ones are the joy of the triumph of justice and the endless gratitude of the defendants.