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DAY 6: THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S PROPOSAL

I. Access to the courtroom: As far as regards the public nature of the trial, the same conditions applied, given this hearing was held in the same (clearly unsuitable) hall of Korydallos prisons as the previous ones, rendering the public’s access to the trial impossible.

II.  Presence and representation of the accused: 18 of the defendants were present; the rest were represented by their counsel.

III.  Objections to the admission of civil parties: After reading the names of the defendants, the President of the Tribunal gave the floor to members of the defense counsel who had not had the opportunity to voice their objections to the participation of civil parties at the previous hearing.

As their colleagues had argued in the previous hearing, the speakers insisted that art. 187 of the Penal Code referent to criminal organizations only concerns offences affecting public goods and the order and safety of society at large. It does not apply to instances of direct damage to individuals. In this tension, the lawyers unanimously requested the baring of civil action from issues pertaining to the indictment of membership in and/or direction of a criminal organization.

Moreover, counsel to Theoni Skarpeli added that her client’s actions did not cause direct damage to any of the victims, adding that the accused “is a mother who concerns herself largely with domestic issues and with her children”. Similarly, counsel to Themi-Evangelia Skordeli objected that her client did not participate in the individual crimes listed under the indictment.

Counsel to Giorgos Stampelou requested the baring of civil action from investigations of individual offences (complicity and/or intent in connection to the Fyssas murder), on the grounds that his client did not in any way contribute to the homicide. Moreover, he asked that the participation of civil parties be disallowed in counts of membership in a criminal organization, on the basis that there is nothing to suggest that his client’s actions caused any direct harm to the civil parties.

Counsel to Christos Stergiopoulos reminded the court that the publication of the second instance decision regarding the murder of Sachzat Loukman, whose relatives legally claimed the right to participate in the trial as civil parties, is still pending. However, in the context of the current trial, he argued, those declaring themselves civil parties should not be permitted to participate, given his client does not bear (nor has he ever born) any relationship to Golden Dawn.

Counsel to Athanasios Tsorvas declared that the participation of civil parties on charges of art. 187 pertaining to criminal organizations is “daring” and “misleading”, while the expectations of those participants are “maximalist”. Counsel to Nikolaos Tsorvas addressed the court and said “if you accept civil action you will be working against the grain of precedent and procedural order will be overturned”.

After the objection was concluded, the President explained to the lawyer of Giorgos Sklavolias (a member of PAME – called by the court on the count of the Perama attack) that his client is not appearing in court as an injured party, and thus is not entitled to participate as a civil party.

The lawyer refrained from voicing a reply, preferring to take time to study the ordinance of the Judicial Council of the Court of Appeal. Similarly, the President asked civil action counsel to produce some specific procedural justification for their participation in the case of fishworkers. The latter provided clarifications to the court and confirmed to the court that they are, in fact, entitled to declare civil action representation. In addition, the President stated her intention to approach the relevant Judicial Council and ask them to make some exceptional provision that will allow those defendants currently under house arrest to appear in court.

After an hour and a half’s break, the meeting resumed with a statement by Giorgos Sklavolias, who said that her client’s request to be represented as a civil party was due to an oversight, and that she thus retracts the request.

IV. The public prosecutor’s proposal: The public prosecutor explained her reasoning regarding the dual benefit of civil parties: namely, the compensation of the victims and the bolstering of the indictment. She continued that, by precedent, civil parties are not admitted as participants in investigations of crimes of general interest, given such crimes cause no immediate damage to specific individuals. However, this indirect damage can be considered direct wherever the organization’s function produces specific victims or attacks specific legal interests.

Following this line of reasoning, the public prosecutor (partly) accepted the plea that individuals might participate in the trial as civil parties, not only with respect to counts of felony (the Fyssas homicide, the attempted murder of the Egyptain fishworkers and of members of PAME), but also on counts of participating in a criminal organizations (Art. 187 Penal Code). Specifically, the Prosecutor proposed the following individuals as civil parties:

the Fyssas family pressing charges against 18 of the defendants both for the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, and for their participation in a criminal organization. Giorgos Patelis is accused of directing a criminal organization.

The members of PAME pressing charges against 4 of the defendants on counts of attempted murder and of participation in a criminal organization. Specifically, Anastasios Pantazis is accused of directing a criminal organization.

The Egyptian fishworker Abozid Ebarak, pressing charges against 5 of the defendants on counts of attempted murder and participation in a criminal organization. As mentioned above, Anastasios Pantazis is accused of directing a criminal organization.

Moreover, according to the proposal made by the public Prosecutor, an Egyptian fishworker and a member of PAME are also permitted to attend the trial as civil parties, but only on the count of damage to their property incurred as a result of the above attacks.

The prosecutor, moreover, proposed baring civil action from counts of mere participation in a criminal organization (under art. 187).

The court was adjourned at 13:40 and will pick up on Monday 22.6.2015 at 9:00 in the same hall. The individuals declaring themselves civil plaintiffs and counsel for the defense will each voice their stance on the Prosecutor’s proposal. Following this, the President and other members of the tribunal will settle on a final decision on the matter.

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