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DAY 91: CROSS-EXAMINATION OF POLICE OFFICER POLYCHRONIDOU

91th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, October 11th, 2016

I. Access to the Court

The courtroom remains open to the public upon presentation of a state ID card, which is retained by court authorities for the duration of the session. Audience and journalist attendance was limited, compared to other hearings.

II. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the hearing were three (3) defendants. Komianos, and two of the five defendants for the Egyptian fishermen case: M. Evgenikos and A. Pantazis. Agriogiannis, Papadopoulos, and Marias arrived later in the day. Forty-four (44) defendants were recorded as absent, and the rest were represented by their counsels.

ΙΙΙ. Proceedings

The hearing was marked by intense altercations between the two sides, which resulted in frequent interruptions. The first of them took place when defense counsel Ms. Poulia asked the interpreter sarcastically whether she’s “playing lawyer?” Tensions escalated anew when the civil action counsels protested forcefully the motions submitted by the defense counsels, alluding to an organized attempt to delay and torment the witness, and as a result insults were exchanged and the court was recessed once more.

Concerning the motion submitted in a previous hearing by defense counsel Mr.  Kassis to call to the stand the state security officer, the District Attorney claimed that the matter has already been cleared by the witness, and it will be clarified further by the next witness, the police officer that conducted the arrest. The civil action counsels stated that the matter has been settled, while Mr. Papadakis countered that the motion should be overruled under article 211, par. 2, CCP, which stipulates that a Civilian Investigator can’t be brought to the witness stand.

Mr. Roussopoulos and Ms. Velentza submitted a written motion to start an ex officio investigation for perjury on the part of the witness, saying “the witnesses place their hand on the Bible, knowing they are lying”, and that such behavior emboldens the witnesses. Ms. Velentza mentioned that innocent people are being implicated in crimes, based on a testimony that has been enriched after four years, while Mr. Papadelis remarked that perjury turns against this court, which is led to errors of judgement, and invoked article 417 of the CCP saying that “He’s not a Greek citizen, he can return to his country, and the crime will stay here”.

The District Attorney proposed to reject the motion, arguing that the trial will last for a long time and when the process is over the case files will be transferred to the relevant District Attorney, while the civil action counsels remarked that this particular motion has been submitted for every witness so far, excepting the police officers and plaintiffs, and called the court to reveal its intentions, in order to put a stop to the slander against the witnesses. The court rejected both motions.

Defense counsels Papadelis and Poulia motioned to investigate whether the witness has given a second testimony. The District Attorney mentioned that the trial examiner keeps a record of the investigations that have been conducted, and the record will be included in the read documents. Civil action counsel Mr. Papadelis also stated that it’s scandalous for a testimony to not be included in the case file.

ΙV. Continuation of cross-examination of witness Abou Hamed Mohamed by the defense counsels

Responding to a question by defense counsel Ms. Velentza, the witness stated that he made the acquaintance of Embarak, the victim of the attack, when he came to Greece. Concerning his testimony to the police, he said he mentioned the metal bars, but it may have been left out from the record. He also insisted that the assailants all wore Golden Dawn shirts.

The day after the attack many Greeks stopped by their house to show their support, including the mayor of Perama. The TV networks were present, but the witness did not grant an interview. Responding to an insinuation by the defense counsel, whether there had been complaints filed against them because of the smell of fish, who motioned to enter a relevant document by the public health services of the municipality of Perama, the witness stated that they had had no trouble during the 7-8 years they had stayed at the house. When shown photographs, the witness pointed out Abuzide’s things on the roof and said that one can easily see from the roof the people on the street, since the trees don’t block the view, and reported that he never heard the phrase “Ahmed, open the door”, neither Embarak’s cry for help. When he tried to go up the stairs, midway he saw them carrying Embarak down, so he didn’t go up to the roof. Responding to a relevant question he said he doesn’t know of an incident involving Pakistanis that took place in August, because at the time he was visiting his country. Finally, Ms. Velentza motioned to call the police officer to the stand, the one who said the assailants are members of Golden Dawn, in violation of the law.

Responding to questions by Mr. Glykas, he insisted that what he stated in his first testimony to the police is true and that he gave answers to all their questions. He saw the perpetrators from the window he had opened, when they were leaving and smashing the cars. The assailants broke the shutters on Ahmed’s window, as well as the door. He stated that when the fire extinguisher dust settled, they opened the doors to let in the breeze and went out about 10 minutes later, when the assailants were gone. He repeated that the assailants were wearing black shirts and jeans, and regarding the woman, he said he didn’t see her in the house, but saw her on the street, however he didn’t get a good look at her, as he did with the others. He pointed out that he doesn’t know their names, but can report their positions. He proceeded to point out in photographs the position each of the assailants had held, along with a short description, and the presiding judge advised the counsels to avoid repeating the same questions. As for why he didn’t say more during his testimony at the police station, he said that he had been questioned by one person, while in court he was questioned by 20, and repeated that he got a good look of the assailants when he opened the window.

Responding to questions by Mr. Papadelis, he stated that he hadn’t run into trouble either before or after the attack and that he practiced regularly his religious duties. After a short recess due to rising tension in the courtroom, he said that on the night in question he didn’t switch on the light when he heard the shouts, so he never saw who it was that threw the fire extinguisher into the house. The witness along with Ahmed were driven to the police station by the Police Commander of Perama, and they brought with them the fire extinguisher. It was there that they were asked the reason for the retaliation, and after a phone call, they were taken to Keratsini to identify a few people that had been brought in for questioning. He saw them in a line through a screen window set in the door, about 30 x 30 cm, but he could see the assailants fine, the woman included, as well as the room, where two police officers were present.

In Alexandras [:GADA] he didn’t identify them again, but was asked only whether these were the same people he had identified in Keratsini, the ones that carried out the attack, and then he proceeded to give his testimony. In Perama one of the police officers said they had arrested a few members of Golden Dawn. He had also mentioned in his testimony that the assailants had been members of Golden Dawn. He also stated that he has testified once before to the reserve investigating magistrate, but the witness was then riled by the defense counsel’s insistent questions, and the court was once more recessed. After the recess the witness repeated that he has testified to the investigating magistrate, but he doesn’t recall the exact location. The presiding judge tried to clarify where the testimony was given to the investigating magistrate, and Mohamed said that in the room were three women dressed in police uniforms.

Responding to questions by Mr. Michalolias he repeated that in Alexandras he wasn’t called upon to identify the witnesses anew, because he had identified them in Keratsini. He also testified that he saw the assailants driving away to Dimokratias Avenue, and that he heard the noise of the motorbikes as they were leaving. In response to the question whether his brother Ahmed was known to the police, he answered that everyone knew him because he ran a fishmonger’s in Perama, and that he doesn’t know whether a complaint has been filed against him by a rival shop-owner.
Defense counsel Roussopoulos then asked him why did he say in his testimony to the police that he had gone up to the roof, while in court he said that he went up to the roof after the testimony and saw the blood, and accused him of perjury. In response to Ms. Poulia he said that the woman of the group was wearing short tights and a black shirt.

Defense counsel Mr. Tsagas requested of the witness to pinpoint the position of the assailants in the house and Mohamed said that there were 3 of them on the threshold and three of them on the staircase, and he also said there were more of them below the window. Responding to questions by Mr. Papadelis, the witness stated that a week later there was a protest march of sorts, and he answered that he doesn’t know whether anything was said about Golden Dawn in that gathering.

Responding to questions by Mr. Kassis, who repeated his motion to call to the stand the state security police officer, Mohamed said that he had seen the assailants for the first time in Keratsini and it was there that he was asked if they were the ones that had attacked them, while Ms. Velentza asked if a year later he had gone on his own to testify to the police, and the witness answered that he had received a phone call by the police.

V. Cross-examination of police officer Polychronidou

The witness testified that on the 12th of June she was on patrol with her colleague Kasidiaris El., who was the one driving the patrol car. They received a radio signal at around 03:20 which said that immigrants in Perama had been attacked. After 3-5 minutes they arrived at the intersection of Gr. Labraki and Dimokratias Ave. The signal had mentioned motorbikes, but it said nothing about the number of persons. At first they followed a single motorbike that looked suspect, but it proved that it was a civilian returning home from his job. As they came back to Salaminos Ave. they saw 100 m away 3 motorbikes that had stopped, and 6 persons standing in front of the bikes, 5 men and 1 woman, a minor at the time. It was around 03:35-03:40 am.
The spot was well-lit and there were two kiosks and a food truck nearby. The two police officers thought that they should at least check the group, because the signal had mentioned “possible members of Golden Dawn”, so they requested back-up. Two of the six people of the group were wearing Golden Dawn shirts. Two more patrol cars arrived on the scene, one from Nikaia, and one more.  The witness mentioned that the suspects were co-operative and when asked they said that they were coming from Café Beat in Karavakia, Perama, which was about 4 km away. They talked for about 5 minutes. The police officers informed them that they would bring them in for questioning, and put two suspects in each patrol car and led them to the Keratsini police station, where they were turned over to the duty officer. At around 05:15 they were told to transfer the suspects from the Keratsini police station to GADA, after collecting an employee from Café Beat. When they got there they informed the employee that he must accompany them to the police station, because something had happened in Perama and they needed him to testify if a group of people had been present in the café earlier, and they led him to GADA. There was another employee in the café, which was there to take up the morning shift. The witness did not remember whether they stopped by the Keratsini police station before they went to GADA.

According to the witness there’s another Café Beat, 300-400 m from the scene of the arrest, but they didn’t go there, and finally the witness pinpointed in photographs the location of Café Beat in Karavakia in relation to the scene of the arrest.