Late PM Zhvania's security guards face jury trial

The defendants themselves expressed their desire for their trial to be heard in front of a jury., 02 Oct 2014 - 15:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

A jury panel will decide the fate of the two security guards of late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, who were charged in relation to the leader’s unexplained death.

Mikheil Dzadzamia and Koba Kharshiladze were the late PM’s security guard shift managers and were charged with negligence due to their "careless attitude towards their work, which inadvertently caused the death of Zhvania”, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

Dzadzamia and Kharshiladze expressed their desire for their trial to be heard in front of a jury. The jury selection process will start on October 22. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury will decide whether Dzadzamia and Kharshiladze were guilty of the charges against them.

Jury trials were first introduced in Georgia in 2010 and the first trial using jurors took place in 2011. Under Georgian law, a jury trial should apply to all criminal cases in which a person might be deprived of freedom. However, in the first stage of the law’s implementation, this option was only available in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi City Courts regarding cases involving current and former officials as well as serious criminal cases.

In addition, the law stated the defendant also had the right to refuse a jury trial.

Meanwhile Dzadzamia and Kharshiladze have been charged with negligence in relation to the death of Georgia's former Prime Minister Zhvania.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in order to ensure the safety of Zhvania and his family, an obligatory security plan had been developed where the PM’s security guards had to protect the leader at all times and not abandon their role.

Despite this, on the night of February 2, 2005, Dzadzamia and Kharshiladze improperly fulfilled their duties and abandoned their post, which left the PM without any protection. Early the following morning Zhvania was found dead.