A Ukrainian court has dismissed a charge against former President Leonid Kuchma of involvement in the murder of an opposition journalist twelve years ago on the grounds that secretly taped audio recordings were inadmissable.
It ruled the tapes had been acquired by illegal means and could not constitute acceptable evidence.
The prosecution had claimed one of the recordings indicated Kuchma had told officials to “deal with” Gerogiy Gongadze.
The headless corpse of the high profile TV reporter, who campaigned against corruption in government, was found in woods a month and a half after he was abducted. He had been one of Kuchma’s fiercest critics.
The ex-leader has always denied involvement in the killing, which became post-Ukraine’s most notorious criminal case.
It also proved to be a turning point for Kuchma, who was swept from power in the Orange Revolution of 2004. The popular revolt was fuelled by anger over economic hardship and corruption among the elite.