BLAGOVESHCHENSK, March 4 (RIA Novosti) – A court in the Amur Region in Russia’s Far East, has annulled a sentence handed down by a judge who fell asleep during a trial last year, a defense lawyer said on Monday.
A video showing judge Yevgeny Makhno sleeping through defense lawyer Vladislav Nikitenko’s speech in court was posted online in January, outraging critics of the Russian justice system and forcing the judge to resign.
Two local businessmen, Andrei Naletov and Sergei Khabarov, who were sentenced by Makhno to five and six years in jail respectively for fraud, were released on a pledge not to leave the town of Blagoveshchensk, said lawyer Nikitenko, who had posted the “Sleeping Judge” video on YouTube.
The sentence was not canceled because the judge fell asleep, however, but due to violations in the investigation process, a court spokesman told RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, former judge Makhno, who was seen dozing in the courtroom by almost 60,000 YouTube users, now works as a lawyer for a major gold-mining company. Makhno claimed that he was not sleeping, but listening with his eyes closed.