Why the Seizure of the Broadcasting Equipment of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC is Illegal
On June 21, 2012, the Tbilisi City Court ruled that the antennas, receivers and other broadcasting equipment of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC be seized.
The court has stated, “There is a possibility that the technical means of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC are intended to be used for the commission of a criminal offence i.e. bribery of electorate, and because of that they have to be seized”.
We suggest that the aforementioned ruling is inconsistent with Georgian legislation for the following reasons:
1. Possibility of seizure under Paragraph 1 of Article 151 of Georgian Code of Criminal Procedures (GCCP)
Article 151 of GCCP sets the prerequisites required for the seizure of property. According to the first paragraph of the aforementioned article, the property of a person charged with a criminal offence or of a person materially responsible for his/her actions and/or of a person related to him/her, can be seized: If the penalty of a crime possibly committed considers the confiscation of property; and if there is the possibility that the property will be hidden or wasted.
Therefore, if a person has not been charged or is currently charged for an offence, sanction for which does not include confiscation of property under the law then the property cannot be seized, and in this case, the first paragraph of Article 151 of GCCP will not apply.
According to the ruling of the court, the property of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC was seized because there was a possibility of it being used for an offence, i.e. for bribing of electorate.
According to the Article 1641 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, bribing of the electorate is a criminal offence sanction which does not include the confiscation of property. Thus, in this case, the seizure of property under first paragraph of Article 151 of GCCP cannot be used.
2. Possibility of Seizure under Paragraph 2 of Article 151 of GCCP
According to Paragraph 2 of Article 151 of GCCP, the seizure of property is also allowed in the preparation stage of an especially severe offence, and/or for its prevention, if there is enough data pointing to the possibility that this property will be used for commission of such an offence.
According to the court ruling, technical means for broadcasting of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC were to be seized because there was a reasonable doubt that aforementioned property was to be used for the commission of an offence - bribing of the electorate.
Considering the text of the ruling, the court used Paragraph 2 of Article 151 of GCCP when it seized the property of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC.
We suggest that the court has incorrectly applied the aforementioned provision because the maximum sentence under Article 1641 - bribery of electorate, is three years of prison which puts this crime in a category of less severe offences for which the law does not apply the seizure of property.
Considering the abovementioned facts, the ruling of the Tbilisi City Court on the seizure of broadcasting equipment of “Global Contact Consulting” LLC was inconsistent with the legislation in force.
 The purpose of the aforementioned provision is to prevent hiding/wasting of a property that can be confiscated in case the defendant is found guilty by court judgment, otherwise it might be harder or impossible to execute the judgment.