120th Hearing, Court of Appeals, January 25th, 2017
- 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 reduced public attendance, and there were members of the press present at the hearing.
- Presence and representation of the defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing.
ΙΙΙ. Proceedings – Examination of requests
The hearing commenced with the continuation and conclusion of the testimony by witness Tsarouchas, and the examination of witness Lyrintzis.
- Continuation of examination of witness Tsarouchas
Responding to questions by defense counsel Papadelis the witness stated that the State Prosecutor arrived at around 23:00, that the anonymous tip concerned only the existence of weapons, and that the discussion to conduct a search of the offices started after the phone call. The search at the offices turned up nothing and the witness believes that whoever made the call was mistaken, but he can’t tell if the error was intended. The witness said that he didn’t hear where the march was to take place, neither that a pole had been found outside the Golden Dawn local chapter that same afternoon, and he also said that the way that Lagos remonstrated was highly irregular.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Gavelas the witness stated that he doesn’t know if the members of KKE had gone outside the offices of Golden Dawn to protest, nor whether there were 50 policemen outside the offices, nor could he say why State Security was assigned to the case. Concerning the incident at Perama he knows that members of KKE were injured, he doesn’t know anything about the identifications, neither about the way they are carried out, and he also said that the preliminary investigation was handled by the State Security. The witness stated that he is not acquainted with Pantazis, but he thinks he had to report regularly to the police station.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Tsagas the witness stated that the police received no information that there were weapons inside the Golden Dawn offices and that someone took them out, and that he has never seen a Minister of Public Order handle a preliminary investigation on his own and collect audiovisual material from the cameras.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Zografou the witness stated that there were about 15 policemen present, 10 of which were in plainclothes, that State Security judged that the phone call gave serious indications of wrongdoing, that he had never before seen the policemen working for State Security, that if someone had seen Lagos he would have described him as an enemy of the police. Concerning the search the witness stated that he didn’t go into the offices of the local chapter, and that he doesn’t know if any documents were retrieved, and that he has never participated in the search of the offices of a parliamentary party, and that he doesn’t know if MP’s can take away defendants from police stations.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Triantafylloudis the witness stated that he knows nothing about violent incidents carried out by the Perama chapter of Golden Dawn, that he’s not acquainted with Markos Evgenikos, that he doesn’t know the case for which Pantazis had to report to the police station, that they had no orders to follow him, that they didn’t have to investigate any other member of Golden Dawn in the past, and that they had never before found weapons in the offices of Golden Dawn.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Oplantzakis the witness stated that he doesn’t know whether this kind of mobilization takes place every time there is an anonymous tip concerning the existence of weapons, and that he doesn’t know what it signifies, and that he received an order to be present at the scene of the investigation.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza the witness stated that the search was conducted at about 01:00 at night.
Responding to questions by defense counsel G. Michalolias the witness stated that he testified everything he heard concerning weapons, as serious indications of wrongdoing, and that he doesn’t know what are the requirements to conduct a night search.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Roussopoulos the witness stated that he doesn’t know who it was that planned the search, neither whether the Minister had been notified, that he doesn’t know whether a report was compiled concerning the lock, or if the search was against the law, that he is not familiar with the incident between MP Konstantopoulou and the Parliament sergeant-at-arms, neither the ruling party’s response when the members of the police union went to the [:ruling party’s offices in] Koumoundourou Sq., and that he hasn’t seen the video of Baltakos.
Responding to those questions by defense counsel Alexiadis that were permitted by the court the witness stated that the offices were closed, that they went to conduct a search, not make arrests, that Lagos was swearing and asking for the policemen’s names, that the witness did not recall Lagos telling the State Prosecutor that the search was against the law, but he does know that Lagos pressed charges against the State Prosecutor’s office, and that he doesn’t know whether any of the policemen present tried to call someone from the party, or whether Lagos said “Why didn’t you call me?” when he arrived.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Stavrianakis the witness stated that he doesn’t know why Lagos was asking these questions, but that when someone thinks that what is happening is against the law he will ask for names.
- Testimony of witness Lyrintzis
The witness testified, interrupted by questions by the court, that he has been working as a bus driver since 1995. In 2013 he was working the Piraeus-Perama line. On the night in question he started the last service from Perama at 00:00, he saw nothing unusual on the first 3 stops, but when the bus was 50 m away from the Papilas Shipping Yard, his course was blocked by about 70 people that were fighting. There was no vehicle in front of him, so he got off the bus and went to check what was going on. He stayed there for 15 minutes, and then a patrol car came to restore the flow of traffic, he didn’t see any motorcycles. The people he saw were divided in two groups, he didn’t see which group was bigger. There was one person wounded lying to the right, but the witness didn’t go near, he remembers that the people on the scene were calling for an ambulance, and that a Suzuki jeep was there with its windows smashed. He didn’t see the two groups leaving, at some point traffic was restored. He didn’t see them holding anything. The following day the witness discussed the incident with some of his colleagues but none of them had anything to add, the witness remembers that at the time there was a strike in the S/Y, and that he doesn’t believe that they were fighting each other, he learned that something had taken place, and that the police tracked him down.
The presiding judge asked the witness whether his hearing testimony was the same with his preliminary testimony and the witness said that he had said the same things, that some people were fighting, that someone had been wounded. He added that he did see a few motorcycles, but he didn’t know if they belonged to the people that were fighting in the street, a few residents of the area came out to see what was going on, he couldn’t make out what they were saying, he was standing next to the bus, that’s his job, the safety of the bus and its passengers. The witness pointed at the point of the map where the bus had stopped, before the shipping yard. Responding to questions by the presiding judge he stated that he saw some of them holding something like a wooden club, that two or three motorbikes suddenly took off towards the opposite direction, two people riding on each one, so it was 4 to 6 people. Some of them were wearing helmets, black face masks, black clothes. The people wearing helmets and face masks, holding bats, were the assailants, they went in and out the mass of people and were hitting them, and finally they left. When the presiding judge pointed out to him that a while back he said that no one had left, the witness stated that the men holding the wooden clubs, wearing helmets etc. left first, and the rest remained on the scene, he can’t tell who it was that stayed, the people riding the motorbikes, and a few others that passed by the bus, at the other side of Dimokratias, and 30-40 people stayed behind swearing at each other, and the police was trying to calm them down. They were shouting and gave the impression they were rivals. Then he saw lots of motorbikes that were next to the bus, that were riding ahead of him.
The presiding judge then proceeded to read the witness’s preliminary testimony and he admitted that some of the people he saw, that were greater in number than the others, had surrounded them, had cornered them, and he saw a group of 30 people holding wooden beams and bats and small poles pass by his bus to the direction of the scene of the attack. They had overtaken him when he was driving the bus towards Piraeus, and afterwards, when he had gotten off the bus to see what was happening, there were pedestrians as well as 10-15 motorbikes. He didn’t hear them say something, when he saw the car it had already been damaged, he didn’t ask anyone about what had happened because he’s not a nosy person. He believes that the two groups had taken part in the strike.
Responding to questions by the presiding judge the witness recalled that he had talked with someone that was wearing black clothes, had no hair, and had left holding what looked like a helmet. He had only heard that the incident had involved Golden Dawn and PAME. He didn’t see, he does not remember, and he doesn’t know what was the business of the people he saw pass him by, he did not focus on these people, he had other things to do.
Responding to questions by the State Prosecutor and her comment that the things he said earlier, in detail, differed with those he was telling now when forced, he answered that he has not received threats for his life and that he’s not afraid and that there must have been 100 people there, and 30 of them were holding bats and got in to beat up the others. Concerning the wounded person he said that there was one wounded person lying in the street and that people were standing over him and were calling for an ambulance because the man’s condition was serious. The State Prosecutor pointed out that he had even described the man that had said “We busted his head”, saying that he had green eyes, and the witness said that he doesn’t doubt it.
Responding to questions by members of the court the witness stated that he doesn’t know what the passengers said among them, and that the fight had to do with the interests vying for control of the S/Y.
Responding to questions by the Deputy State Prosecutor the witness stated that no one had blocked the street, and that the incident was still unfolding when he got there, at first he couldn’t make out which side was on the defensive, but after an interjection by the presiding judge the witness said that they had them surrounded and were beating them up, that he can’t say if they could have left, and that he doesn’t know if there was a plan and the men with the black clothes and the wooden beams at some point left. He confirmed that some of them were holding poles with a length of 2 m and said that some of the other weapons were shorter. He confirmed the exchange he had with the man who told the witness “We busted his head”, and said that he can’t say for how long the incident was going on before he arrived. Traffic was restored after a patrol car arrived on the scene.
Responding to questions by a member of the court the witness stated that he saw the group of motorbikes long before the incident and that they could have arrived by ferry from Salamina, he didn’t see if the people had the poles just for intimidation or if they were using them. When the member of the court pointed out to him that he had said that he saw people using the poles to beat up other people, and that he was reluctant to come and testify before the court and that they had to bring him in by force, the witness answered that he came of his own free will and that he did not answer phone calls because he had family problems and that the people he saw were using the poles to beat up people after all.
Responding to questions by civil action counsel Vrettos the witness stated that he was calm during his preliminary testimony, that he can’t say whether the objects held by the assailants could kill, and that the ring of people gave the impression that they were all embracing each other.
Responding to questions by civil action counsel Malagaris the witness stated that because of the problems he was facing he wasn’t going to work, that his testimony is not causing him any stress, that he’s not hiding anything, that when he set out from the end of the line he saw about 30 people that overtook the bus after the second stop, that groups of people like that are frequent in Perama, and that the ferry boat from Salamina docks at five to midnight. The people that overtook the bus were the same with the ones that he later saw parked and that the car that he saw was probably not smashed by punches, but with a rock or length of metal pipe and that the assailants were swearing and that there was anger in the air.
Responding to questions by civil action counsel Stratis the witness stated that the men that were wearing black were the assailants, that they looked like the people he saw earlier, some of them had their heads shaved, some were wearing helmets, that depending on the force, the objects they were holding could seriously injure another person. The witness added that the phrase “We busted his head” means that we injured him, but someone could be killed when wounded in the head. He confirmed that the incident involved members of Golden Dawn and members of PAME and that the men on the motorbikes gave the impression that they were all part of the same group.
Responding to questions by civil action counsel Antanasiotis the witness stated that he knows nothing of other attacks by Golden Dawn, and that what he knows about the Fyssas murder he heard it on TV, they said someone had killed a man and claimed Golden Dawners had done it.
Responding to questions by civil action counsel Sapountzakis the witness stated that the people standing in the front row were holding poles and that the ones at the back weren’t holding anything, and confirmed that the 30 people that he saw told him that “they’re fewer than us, we’ll finish them”, that some of them were holding wooden poles, and that by “finish them” he understood that they were going to beat them up.
Responding to insistent questions by civil action counsel Sapountzakis about whether “we’ll finish them” means we’ll beat them up, the witness didn’t give any answer, and at this point the defense erupted in protest.
The presiding judge adjourned for January 26th, 2017, in the Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison.