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DAY 66: CONTINUATION OF TESTIMONY OF WITNESS BIAGIS AND COMMENTS BY THE COUNSELS

66th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, June 10th, 2016

 1. 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. Few spectators showed up at this hearing, apart from members of the press and the Fyssas family.

2. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the proceedings was defendant Komianos. Thirty-five (35) defendants were recorded as absent, while the rest were represented by their counsels.

3. Proceedings – Continuation of testimony of witness Biagis, a DIAS police officer

No microphones were working in the courtroom during the proceedings.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza witness Biagis said that he didn’t notice again the special guard at the scene of the murder, that right away Fyssas was helped by his friends, civilians, and that he was placed in the ambulance by the crew. Responding to questions by defense counsel G. Michalolias he stated that he was scared due to the number of people and that the signal had mentioned people carrying bats and they didn’t know what to expect. That it is possible for someone to conceal something on his person even in those conditions, that he couldn’t use his own weapon, he had to protect it and that’s what he did. That in previous demonstration supervisions he has participated in they did nothing, just relayed what was happening. He added that he had already heard the Golden Dawn chant on TV, that their orders were to check what was going on and as soon as they got off their bikes, the gathered persons started running, but not swearing.

Defense counsel Roussopoulos (for Lagos) submitted to the court a number of photographs and the witness said it was various groups with covered faces, in some photos they hold red banners, bearing other insignia or no insignia. Roussopoulos asked the witness if he can recognize in these photos any parliamentary parties, some of which have governed Greece, if he recognizes the incident depicted in the photographs, and whether on September 18th, 2013, the Police Colonel for the District of Evia was beaten by members of PAME. At this point and after the witness testified that he indeed recognizes some members of parliamentary parties and that in the incident depicted in the photographs some people try to drag away a police officer, there was a serious incident between the civil action and the defense counsels which was continued in the corridor during the recess.

After the recess defense counsel Roussopoulos asked the witness whether he has seen the video showing the weapons in Exarcheia and the witness answered that he has, but that there are special departments that deal with these matters.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Papadellis the witness answered that he has witnessed other demos that were organized by various political parties and which didn’t have violent conclusions, which had been attended by MPs. What differentiates the various demos is ideology, he said, but after another question by the defense counsel, the witness said that there is no difference.

Defense counsel Zografos then mentioned the incident in the Mesologgi street market, and asked the witness whether he knows the judicial status of the case, and then submitted the acquittal by the Mesologgi Court of Misdemeanors. The witness stated that he didn’t know when this particular incident took place. Civil action counsel Kabagiannis stated that there is also a conviction for a similar incident, which he pledged to submit for the court.

4. Statements by the counsels concerning the testimonies of witnesses Biagis and Dafos under article 358 CCP

Civil action counsel Tzellis commenced the statement phase by saying that one of the two witnesses, Biagis or Dafos, was not telling the truth. He stated that he believes that unfortunately witness Biagis testified falsely about the times, the routes taken by the DIAS squad, and in general the events that surround the murder of Fyssas. He referred to criminal negligence on the part of the police, the unreliability of witness Biagis, and osmosis between the defendants, the criminal organization, and the police.

Civil action counsel Kougiatsou commented that witness Dafos was definitive about what he saw, i.e. Roupakias in his car, with the engine turned on, without handcuffs, and it was him that placed the patrol car diagonally across the street in order to stop the murderer from making his escape. No one showed them where the knife was, but Dafos described the exact way it was collected. Dafos also described the exchange in the patrol car, as well as the by now infamous phrase “I’m one of you, I’m Golden Dawn”. The civil action counsel stated that she is also of the mind that there is a kind of osmosis at work. Concerning witness Biagis she said that he testified that Pavlos was harassed by three persons, and he also said that they left after the stabbing, so Pavlos was vulnerable to attack. The civil action counsel pointed out the contradictions in the testimony of witness Biagis concerning the times, or the number of DIAS squads on the scene.

Civil action counsel Papadopoulou stated that she would like to comment not only on what the witnesses said, but how they said it, their stance, the way they listened to what was being said to them, and what they answered. According to the civil action counsel the DIAS squad is telling only a part of the truth, they haven’t told how much time it took them to start running, sometimes they say 3 minutes, and others 1,5 minute. It is clear that they didn’t pursue the mob, that they did nothing, even though they could have. On the contrary, civil action counsel Papadopoulou went on, the testimonies of the police officers in the patrol cars had a certain cohesion. Dafos and Kourentzis obtained the confession, found and collected the knife, handcuffed Roupakias, and the most important, they gave their names, the most sensible thing, something the DIAS policemen never did.

Civil action counsel Tobatzoglou said in brief that the DIAS policemen couldn’t possibly have done everything they claim they did in the time it took for the patrol car to arrive.

Civil action counsel Zotos took the floor and said that witness Biagis testified about the 40-50 people that he saw, and about 15-20 people that detached from that group and started running. This shows that the attack was coordinated, since they started it all together. According to the civil action counsel, Biagis’ testimony starts to fall apart when he started talking about what happened in Tsaldari Street, Biagis testified that when he got there he saw 3-4 people, Fyssas, and Roupakias. If that is the case, then the murder happened before the policemen arrived on the scene, and that means that the policemen didn’t pursue the persons that were outside Koralli Café. Biagis said that when he turned the corner he saw Roupakias’ car. Civil action counsel Zotos believes that the police officers underestimated the incident and failed to prevent the murder. Witness Dafos, according to the counsel, was a police officer that did the obvious, he collected the knife, handcuffed the perpetrator, and proved that the DIAS squad did nothing.

Civil action counsel Kabagiannis touched on a few points from the testimony of witness Dafos as the man who heard the murderer’s confession, and also the notorious phrase “I’m one of you, I’m Golden Dawn”, he illustrated the inactivity of the DIAS squad, since Roupakias was still sitting undisturbed in his car and ready to go, the DIAS policemen were standing many feet away from him and their credibility is in doubt, he praised the testimony of witness Dafos concerning attacks on immigrants, in a local mosque, which was a typical attack by an assault squad under cover of night, same as the attack on the Egyptian fishermen.

Civil action counsel Zafeiriou isolated what witness Biagis said about 15-20 people detaching from the mob and leaving in a coordinated fashion, while they could have left in different directions, that the 3-4 people that helped Roupakias wore similar clothes, had the same haircut, and looked the same as those 15-20 people, that this group wasn’t cooperating, wasn’t peaceful, wasn’t there by chance, they knew where they were going and what they were doing, they passed in front of policemen because they had the advantage of numbers, they had weapons, they acted according to a predetermined plan. The civil action counsel stressed that witness Biagis recognized Michaloliakos’ nazi salute and the presence of Kasidiaris and Michaloliakos in a Golden Dawn gathering.

Civil action counsel Malagaris started by saying that it would be interesting to bring to court witness Dafos’ testimony concerning the attack on the mosque, that the assault squads are a part of the indictment, and that it is good that questions are asked concerning their activity, since they aren’t a fiction. He commented that there is no doubt anymore that these persons were members of Golden Dawn.

Finally, civil action counsel Vrettos said that the witness did not refer to one incident in a street fruit market, but to many.

First to take the floor on the part of the defense counsels, defense counsel Kontovazenitis said that in this particular case there are no accessories to the murder, since the other people did not participate in the murder. He also stated that we can’t be talking about an premeditated crime but for a fight that involved 5 persons, and the police did not show negligence, they could have arrested the primary accessories.

Defense counsel Oplantzakis stated that according to Dafos there was no one in the car with Roupakias, no one tried to physically or verbally push Roupakias to confess, and repeated his request to cross-examine the witness with Zorzos and Karagiannidis. Concerning the testimony of witness Biagis he stated that according to the witness the persons looked like anarchists, which differ only as regards the reaction, which could be similar, which is to run. Biagis couldn’t tell whether the three left before or after the stabbing.

According to defense counsel Velentza none of the witnesses contributed anything to the trial. Biagis said only that Roupakias was there, that no one tried to take him away, that the ambulance was delayed for about 45 minutes. She said repeatedly that it was a fight between two people. Both Dafos and Biagis said that there was no one in the car with Roupakias. Defense counsel Tsagas said that Biagis described a fight between two people, Roupakias and Fyssas, and that there were no people wearing camo pants on the night in question. From what witness Biagis said, none of the 15-20 people helped Roupakias in any way, no one gave orders, and they weren’t in formation. As to whether the persons were Golden Dawners, the defense counsel said that Biagis expressed the opinion that they belonged to a wider section of the political spectrum. According to Mr. Tsagas, Biagis clarified that Fyssas was never surrounded the way Karagiannidis and Zorzos said. Finally, Biagis stated that no one saw or understood that Roupakias had stabbed Fyssas, and so could not have prevented it. Concerning Dafos, the counsel said that in no part of his testimony did he confirm what is included in the indictment.

Defense counsel Mavroeidis (for Stabelos) limited his comments to the fact that it was proven that his client was not involved in the incident.

Defense counsel Aggeletos stated that witness Dafos should have watched fewer crime movies, because now we don’t know who did what. As for the threats against Kourentzis, he stated that they amounted to nothing, and that the matter of the threats is a fabrication.

Defense counsel Papadelis stated that concerning the reports of the attack on the mosque, it is inexcusable to fill in the indictment with incidents that are heard in this court for the first time, because this constitutes a breach of the defendants’ rights under article 171a -and maybe even b- CCP.

Defense counsel G. Michalolias commented that Kourentzis did not confirm the testimony of Dafos concerning the perpetrator’s confession, neither Golden Dawn’s involvement in the murder. He pointed out that Dafos called the announcer from his mobile phone and reported the confession and the search for members of Golden Dawn. Concerning the testimony of Biagis the counsel said that he confirmed that the group wasn’t in formation, that they weren’t coordinated, and that no one gave any orders. These people couldn’t have concealed clubs or bats on their person, it was summer, they wore t-shirts, there was nowhere to hide the clubs near the motorbikes, and no one saw any clubs or bats left on the ground.

Defense counsel Roussopoulos stated that he disputes Dafos’ credibility as a witness because of the reason why he parked the patrol car diagonally in the street, while defense counsel Zografos mentioned that the common element in both testimonies was that they talked and about a fight. He went on to say that the fear the witness felt wasn’t based on any information about a gathering of Golden Dawners, it was a fear that was spontaneous, human, understandable. The police officers had no other information about the activity of Golden Dawn members, apart from what was reported in the media. According to Zografos the police officers had a deep knowledge of the various incidents, and this shows the effect of the media over the years, but they knew nothing about, for example, the acquittal in the Mesologgi case.

The state prosecutor then motioned to accept the request of the civil action for the personal appearance of the 18 defendants involved in the Fyssas murder, and mentioned the upcoming testimony by Nikolaos Mantas that is known to recognize some of the defendants. Civil action counsel Tzelis, speaking for the civil action, seconded the motion by the state prosecutor, while defense counsel Kontovazenitis opposed the motion claiming that the witnesses have job obligations and that the request was submitted fairly late in the process, expressing also fears that the witnesses have been trained.

Defense counsel Velentza also opposed the motion and stated that apart from the livelihood of her clients, photographs have been repeatedly shown to every witness and no one has ever been identified. Defense counsel Oplantzakis asked of the court to reserve its judgement, so that witness Mantas appears in court on Monday, to describe the persons, and if there’s a need, then the defendants can be called. Defense counsel Tsagas mentioned that his client’s job obligations must be taken into account, and wondered how did the civil action counsels know that the witnesses will proceed with identifications. The defense counsel for Komianos seconded the motion by the state prosecutor, and defense counsel Mavroeidis (for Stabelos) stated that his client has nothing against appearing in court, but that the daily wages that he needs must be taken into account.

After a short recess the court accepted the request by the civil action counsels, ordered the defendants to personally appear in court, and adjourned for Friday, June 24th, 2016, in the Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison.

 

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