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DAY 73: WITNESS TESTIMONY OF KONTONIKOLAS

73rd Hearing, Court of Appeals, July 11th, 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. There was significant attendance by the public as well as members of the press.

2. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the hearing were 7 defendants, out of a total of 18 who have been ordered to personally appear in court. Twenty-seven (27) defendants were recorded as absent, while the rest were represented by their counsels.

3.  Proceedings – Examination of Requests – Conclusion of witness testimony of Vintsis

Before the conclusion of the testimony of witness Vintsis started, the state prosecutor motioned to reject the request by the civil action counsels to call Chandrinos and Nikolaou to the witness stand, and the matter of witness Chatziefstratiou was discussed as well, who, despite having been called with Kontonikolas, did not appear in court.

Witness Vintsis got on the witness stand and stated that he does not remember anything else, that he has been serving in the police force for 25 years, his area of responsibility is Piraeus and he has not chanced upon a Golden Dawn gathering, on or off shift. Everything he knows about Golden Dawn he has seen it on TV, he knows, as he said, some things about the black clothes they wear and about certain fishermen.

Responding to questions by the civil action counsels the witness stated that on the night in question he was the one that chose the itinerary for the patrol car, so that they would get there as fast as they could, that he did not recall what exactly was said in the DIAS channel, he was concentrated on their own channel, but he can’t remember what the signal said. When civil action counsel Tzelis pointed out to him that the signal said to proceed to 60, P. Tsaldari St, he stated that he can’t remember why they didn’t go there, nor the route they followed, something that caused the presiding judge to say, verbatim “No sir, you are a police officer, you carry a gun”. He went on to testify that when they got out of the patrol car there was a crowd gathered, but he can’t recall what kind of people or whether there were any other police forces present. He testified that they were running around in the surrounding streets and then came back to the patrol cars. He stated that he can’t remember what was happening and that they would have to look up his first testimony. He stated that he can’t recall whether the locals warned him about the presence of Golden Dawners, that they did everything according to the orders from HQ, that they didn’t get to 60, Tsaldari St. because of the people gathered there, who were behaving like maniacs, and he asked them to call an ambulance, but he didn’t ask them why they were behaving in such a way. Responding to questions by civil action counsel Tzellis about what really happened on the night in question, he stated that a murder took place, he knows everything the TV had said, that his partner submitted a report about the incident, and that he does not recall discussing it with his partner. The presiding judge once more interrupted to say that in all her years as a judge she has never met a witness with such a weak memory, and she also said that it is inexcusable that every witness that is called to the stand says again and again that they don’t remember anything.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Kougiatsou he stated that a lot of signals were coming through, and at some point he thought that maybe they were soccer fans, because there was a match on that day.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadopoulou he said that he doesn’t know where the match was taking place, that he doesn’t know the match that the signal was talking about, that he hadn’t received any order to be on alert in the Piraeus sector. He also testified that he never received a signal concerning an assault against immigrants in Monastiraki and that in P. Ralli Avenue there are frequent incidents involving immigrants and that he can’t recall how much time he busied himself with the P. Ralli signal. He also stated that he can’t recall whether he was alerted to 60, Tsaldari by the DIAS channel, that he can’t remember whether code E11 signals a fight, nor what is the meaning of code 2610.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Tobatzoglou he testified that he has been serving in the Piraeus district for the past 14 years, he has dealt with less than 5 homicides, that the Golden Dawn Nikaia chapter are located in Korai Square and that GD’s leader is Michaloliakos.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Zotos, which were interrupted by questions by the presiding judge, he answered that he wasn’t at the scene of the murder, but he does know that a murder is on trial, but he was nowhere near, he just escorted the ambulance. He testified that there was another patrol car, A 8-2, manned by sergeants Dafos and Kourentzis but he doesn’t know what was discussed in that patrol car. He’s not just a patrol car driver, he does send out signals from time to time. He then stated that he can’t remember what the signal concerning the fishermen said. He said that he has not seen member of the Party receive training in the use of weapons and knives, that he first saw defendant Roupakias in the patrol car, where he was sitting on the back seat along with the second officer. He stated that he can’t remember what exactly had happened before that, something that caused the presiding judge to interrupt once more and tell him that he must remember whether he was alerted from someone, and he said that he heard from HQ that they took the perpetrator to Keratsini. He said that he saw Roupakias again on TV.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Kabagiannis he said that concerning the first incident with the immigrants they got nothing to go on, neither was there any high-ranking officer present, that he doesn’t know because he only remembers the first incident, not the second, that he thinks he secured the scene of the crime with police tape, that he can’t remember exactly which persons they brought in for questioning, that there was one person that hid in a pilotis, but he can’t remember who was chasing him.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadakis he stated that the orders they got was to look for persons wearing black, that the signals were handled by his partner, that they saw nothing unusual on the way, he repeated that he didn’t know why they didn’t go down Tsaldari St., that he chased no one in the alleys, that he doesn’t know if the gathered people included persons with the characteristics that the signal had said to look out for.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Sapountzakis about why Roupakias was in the patrol car, he stated that he was in the patrol car and they were on their way to the police station, and when asked whether the murder had already taken place, the witness answered that he doesn’t understand the question.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Antanasiotis he responded that concerning the Perama incident he knows only what was on TV, which is that it was an assault by members of Golden Dawn, that he doesn’t know whether it was connected to the incident that his present testimony touches on, that he is not interested in the ideology or activity of Golden Dawn, and as for the various searches he was following orders from HQ.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Vrettos he stated that he doesn’t know anything about the increased alert level that week due to the incident in Perama, that only later did he hear about Roupakias saying “I’m one of you”.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Kontovazenitis the witness said that he saw many people, that he saw no one holding a bat, but there were people dressed in black, that he was amazed by the overturned car, and he heard that someone had been stabbed.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Oplantzakis he stated that he didn’t hear who the car belonged to, that judging from his experience when a crime is premeditated the way the perpetrator arrives at the scene and the way he makes his escape varies, he could come with his own vehicle or a stolen one and get away with the same one, on a car or a motorbike, that it’s dangerous for someone to get away on a car that has been illegally parked, but it has happened. From the way the car was parked he can surmise that maybe he hadn’t thought about it, that there is a policy in patrol cars of not speaking with the arrested persons, that he doesn’t know whether the two officers could ask a question of the arrested person, his name for example, and that he doesn’t know if the things he witnessed that night were something that had been planned in advance.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza he stated that a body search is standard procedure for everyone, and responding to questions by defense counsel Roubekas he said that he doesn’t remember where the word “fight”, which he said to the investigator of Piraeus, came from, and that HQ bases the signals it sends on information received by civilians. He went on to say that when they checked Fyssas out of curiosity he was laying down and looked wounded, but then they followed procedure and until the ambulance came he was still alive.

Responding to questions by defense counsels Bonis and Zografos he stated that HQ mentioned only one person that was hiding in a pilotis, that he doesn’t know whether they found a person armed with a club, or a club left somewhere, that he talked to Symeonoglou only at the scene of the crime when he told them to drive away the gathered crowd.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Stavrianakis he said that he saw Roupakias sitting on the back seat with his hands handcuffed behind his back.

4. Witness testimony of Kontonikolas

In his examination by the presiding judge witness Kontonikolas stated that he is a graphic designer, that he has lived in Keratsini his whole life and knows the area pretty well, that he wasn’t close friends with Pavlos, but that he had known him for 10 years, he had gone to his house a few times, and that he had watched some of his concerts. The witness said that he is also a music artist.
On the night in question he met with Dimitris Melachrinopoulos who came by the witness’s house and they went to Souvenir, the first cafe they went to, for a beer, and saw there Seirlis, his girlfriend Lina, two people named Nikos whose surnames he can’t remember, and Christos Pakiotis, all of them watching a soccer match. He then testified that his friends called Fyssas and he told them to meet him, that he didn’t listen what was said on the phone call, the only people in the group that were interested in soccer were Fyssas and Doulvaris.

No one objected to moving to Koralli, nor was there something to keep them in Souvenir. The two cafés are about 300 m away from each other, maybe more, they transferred in two cars, they got there quickly, and left the cars in P. Mela St. The cafe was full of people, the guys had reserved two tables but there weren’t enough chairs, so they found stools and chairs and sat down. Fyssas was there, with Chrysa (his girlfriend), and Giorgos Doulvaris. The place was noisy, they were talking, they weren’t shouting. At one table sat three Golden Dawners, one of them wore camo pants with the cuffs tucked in army boots, all of them were brawny, and wore dark clothes. The witness stated that it was them who stared at him and his friends. He didn’t see any exchange between the groups. A little before the end of the match the Golden Dawners got up to leave, and when they passed by their table one of them tripped. Seirlis told him “OK brother”. The match over, he went outside and found his friends terrified, there was something suspicious going on, Christos Pakiotis had stomach trouble and said that he would leave and the witness went with him to put him in a cab on Tsaldari St. He went on to say that his friends told him that they couldn’t get their cars because Golden Dawn members had gathered.

There were many people around, and at that point two DIAS motorbikes went by with two policemen each, and behind them came the silver Nissan.  It was then that the witness thought that something would go down and he and his friends decided to go to the central square where the cafés are, where it is crowded and they would be safer. He didn’t see any person go from one group to the other. Then he saw the silver car coming from Salaminos St. and behind it 6-7 motorbikes, two helmeted and black-clothed men riding on each one. The driver asked where is Kefallinias St. and Fyssas told him “it’s this one here”. The motorbikes were following the car, because they stopped when the car stopped and on the bikes were people like the ones in the café, some of them wore army boots, others camo, almost of all of them had helmets on, and some were holding them.

They stopped in the middle of Kefallinias and started shouting “we’ll fuck you up, come here you pussies”. Then Pavlos said “Let’s run, run!” and that’s when the attack began in earnest.

The ones left behind were the witness, Pavlos, and Melachrinopoulos, the rest ran away and got into the alleys. They beat them up with helmets, with fists, kicks, the witness was hit on the head with a helmet, he fell down, he was kicked in the ribs, and he fell on the shop window, then Dimitris (Melachrinopoulos) came to help him and one of them jumped on his back and hit him on the back and Pavlos was being beaten by three people. The witness didn’t go to the hospital because after what happened he didn’t want to get out of the house. Across the street were about 20 Golden Dawners who were shouting and swearing at them. When the witness got up he saw two policemen on foot. The witness then said that four persons had surrounded Pavlos and were beating him up, and then came the same silver car they had seen before coming up the wrong way, he stopped at a parking spot, the perpetrator came out, reached Pavlos in four steps, the four people that were beating him opened to let him pass but did not leave. The witness stated that he saw the driver reach Pavlos and he appeared to punch him in the chest, then Pavlos bent forward, and turned around, pulled his t-shirt up and said “the bastard stabbed me”. The witness saw the driver get into the car. The first time they saw the car and its driver, the witness testified that he definitely saw two people in the backseat, but he can’t remember if it was men or women. He stated that at the time of the attack the police officers were standing on the sidewalk a little to the left of Pavlos, but they didn’t do anything and approached immediately afterwards but he didn’t see them get Roupakias off Pavlos. He then testified that Pavlos stumbled, he became unconscious, the ambulance took too long to get there, and when it finally did, Dimitris (Melachrinopoulos) helped get Pavlos in, then they went to the hospital in Giorgos’ (Doulvaris) car, they stayed there, they heard that Pavlos didn’t make it, and then plainclothes policemen came and took them to the Keratsini Police Station. Responding to a question by the presiding judge how he can explain that in an earlier testimony he said that the whole incident lasted a few seconds and that not even the policemen that were trying to stop the beating had any time to react, he answered that that’s not what happened, that on the night in question he was in a bad shape, and that the police officers that took his testimony were changing what he said.

He also testified that he has seen Golden Dawners hold marches, where they form ranks and wave Greek flags. He understood that they were Golden Dawners by the way they look, they don’t look like normal people in demonstrations, they look like criminals. Until the attack on his person, the only thing he knew about them was the march he had witnessed, and that they were against leftists, anarchists, and immigrants, and at the time he thought they were thugs. After the murder he searched the internet and learned about the cell leaders, who are the commanders of a group like the one that attacked them, and that there’s also a district leader. He also learned that nothing happens without an order from the leader.

Responding to questions by the court he said that he doesn’t know whether Koralli is frequented by Golden Dawners, nor whether Pavlos had gone there before. That the Golden Dawners might have been staring because they had beards and long hair, that Nikos Chatziefstratiou was with them, but now they’ve lost touch, that he doesn’t know whether the Golden Dawners knew Pavlos in advance, but he does know that he wrote antifascist songs, and he stated that they were singled out because fascists oppose everything that is different and they wanted to make a show of power in a neighborhood that is home to a lot of them. All those people looked like a mob, he didn’t hear any orders being given, the ambulance took too long, but he can’t be sure whether Pavlos would have lived after being stabbed in the heart. He went on to say that Pavlos was trying to defend himself from the blows of the four that were beating him, that these four when the car came retreated without leaving the scene, they looked like they were expecting this, as if the attack was to be finished by the one that had come and they looked like they knew each other, and they all left after the stabbing. Concerning the people on the opposite side of the street he said that they must have been thirty of them, that he heard shouts and insults, but he didn’t recall any slogans, and the presence of these people appeared to steel Roupakias’ resolve to do what he did. He stated that Roupakias and Fyssas didn’t fight, that the stabbing was carried out immediately, in the space of a few seconds, and that more people could have been killed.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadopoulou the witness stated that Pavlos Fyssas was making music for the past 10 years, that he wasn’t as well known as a popular singer, but in recent years he was getting more and more attention, after his cooperation with a famous rapper. He saw that he could never identify the three persons outside Koralli. That the shortcomings of his first testimony can be attributed to sleeplessness, but mostly to his psychology at the moment. He testified that Pavlos was active in the community.

Responding to questions by civil action counsels Tobatzoglou and Kougiatsou, which were interrupted by questions by the presiding judge, the witness answered that he thought right away that the persons outside Koralli were Golden Dawners and he was alarmed when he saw that their numbers increased as time passed, and he also thought that the ones in P. Mela St. merged with the group that came later, and attacked them. That on the night of the incident Pavlos was in a good mood and he didn’t notice any signs that he wasn’t sober. He also mentioned that he heard that Golden Dawn announced that the murder happened due to differences between soccer fans, but later assumed political responsibility for the murder. Concerning Roupakias the witness stated that he went directly for Pavlos and looked like it had all been planned in advance, something that was evident from the fact that he took big strides and went straight to him, they didn’t touch each other once.

The presiding judge adjourned for Thursday, July 14th, 2016, at 09:00.

 

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