The idea of mandatory video recording of the first interrogation is positive from the point of view of the defense. If the investigator can invent the minutes of the interrogation and give for signature of the suspect who may not read it, it will not work with video recording. In addition, the video will record:
- whether investigators explained the suspect his rights, including how the right not to testify about himself or herself, members of his or her family or close relatives set forth in Art. 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine was explained, as well as the right to defense, including at the expense of the state;
- whether the defender was present, and whether the suspect demanded defense;
- whether the investigator was present during the interrogation (interrogations are often actually carried out by operational officers not having the appropriate written instructions);
- whether the suspect gave evidence independently;
- whether the suspect or his defense lawyer were willing to make remarks in the report;
- where and in what circumstances the interrogation took place;
- what time the interrogation was carried out (it can be clearly visible in some cases);
- whether operational officers and other persons, who could make pressure on the suspect, were present at the interrogation;
- does the suspect have traces of beatings, are there signs of alcohol or drugs, whether the suspect complained to health and general physical and mental state;
- what clothing the suspect wore, what he looked like, which is of particular importance during detention of a person on suspicion;
- how the suspect behaved in general that may be material for a forensic psychological examination.
In accordance with Art. 107(7) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, non-application of technical recording in cases when it is required, entails invalidity of the procedural action and all results received in the course of it. It means that the phrase often used by investigators “photographs have not been preserved for technical reasons” will not help the prosecution any more.
Implementation of these rules requires financial costs from the state as the investigators of law enforcement agencies (except for the Security Service of Ukraine) are actually not provided with video cameras and data storage devices. In case of dispute on the video material and the examination it will be important whether the recording facility is on the balance of the pre-trial investigation body, whether the original data storage device and the recording device can be provided for examination.