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Judge’s Decision to Replace Gaspari’s Lawyers ‘Legally Unjustified’

Civic activist Vardges Gaspari's legal team will continue to defend his interests in court, despite judge Nelly Baghdasaryan's decision to relieve them as counsel from Gaspari's case, Tigran Yegoryan, one of the three lawyers representing Gaspari, told Epress.am Monday. 

The Shengavit district court judge issued the decision to remove the lawyers Saturday on the basis that they either failed, on multiple occasions, to appear in court, or left the courtroom without the judge's permission. Baghdasaryan also sent a writ to Gaspari, proposing to appoint a new attorney to represent the defendant. 

“The judge's decision is not worth a dime and is legally unjustified. A judge does not have the power to relieve lawyers [from a case] against their will. Client-lawyer relationships are essentially immune from interference by judges. The right to choose a lawyer belongs to the defendant, and judges have no say in it,” Yegoryan stated.

The lawyer added that it was not the first time the judge had issued such a decision; “[Judge Baghdasaryan] did the same a month ago. As for our failure to show up for the hearings, it was entirely justified: Gaspari was removed from the courtroom  on two separate occasions, and once we motioned to postpone a hearing since we had not agreed with the judge on the scheduled day, and Gaspari had not been properly notified about it.”