2nd Hearing, Women’s Section, Korydallos Prisons, Athens 07/05/2015

I. Access to the courtroom: Regarding public access to the trial, the same conditions applied, given the second hearing was conducted in the same hall of Korydallos prisons as the first. Moreover, throughout the hearing, a number of attending journalists, witnesses and lawyers complained that speakers could not be heard. Despite the addition of seats to accommodate counsel for the defense, many lawyers found themselves with no place to sit.

II. Presence and representation of the accused: The hearing began at 09:05 with the reading out of the names of the defendants and statements of representation by their counsel. Given the overall conditions of the courtroom and the non-existence of an adequate sound system, those present in the hall could not hear the statements of the accused and of their counsel regarding their appearance and representation in court. The president of the tribunal requested additional information regarding defendants’ and their counsel’s claims concerning the death of the accused, Antonis Boletis, noting that the death has yet to be confirmed by the court. Finally, the defendant Ioannis-Vasilios Komianos declared that the lawyer whom he himself had chosen as his counsel will not be representing him after all because, in his words, “they couldn’t figure it out financially,” and asked that the court assign him counsel. The president of the tribunal assigned counsel from the list of ex officio appointed lawyers of the Athens Bar Association.

Counsel for the Fyssas family asked that the court resolve all issues pertaining to the counsel of the accused so as not to delay the proceedings any further.

III. Civil Action: The president of the tribunal called out the name of the first witness for the prosecution, the father of Pavlos Fyssas, whose counsel raised the question of whether the participation of civil plaintiffs would be announced at this stage.

A number of defense lawyers retorted that civil plaintiffs cannot make statements before the defense counsel has had the chance to exhaustively consult the case files. The prosecutor seconded the statement. The President of the tribunal suggested that the participation of civil plaintiffs might be announced on the day, following which the defense counsel would be given time to consult the case files so that any objections might be discussed at the next hearing. 

A number of lawyers for the defense agreed with the proposal, while others objected, demanding the adjournment of the hearing such that the defense counsel selected by the President might have time to acquaint themselves with the case files. It was eventually agreed that the legal recognition of Civil Action would be determined in subsequent hearings.

IV.  Demands put to the court: Civil Action counsel reiterated their request to transfer the trial proceedings to the Athens Court hall given the one currently assigned the case is inadequate; questions were raised concerning measures necessary to ensure the safety of the trial and of the local community – particularly of students of the neighbouring school – whose lives have been disrupted by the conducting of the trial in the prisons. One lawyer for the defense concurred with the request for change of venue put forth by Civil Action Counsel and stressed that of the arguments given, he supported the one concerning the inappropriateness of the venue and not that referent to the local community.

Taking the floor, the Mayor of Korydallos asked that the court find a solution to the grievances incurred by the 400 students who will otherwise be forced to sit the upcoming national exams in other municipalities.

A member of Civil Action counsel reiterated his request that public access to the trial be ensured and suggested the court call the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists (POESY) to the stand. The court accepted the request and handed the floor over to the president of POESY. At this point, a member of counsel for the defense commented that, “journalists don’t interest us.” The president of POESY related the difficulties faced by journalists due to the inadequacy of the hall and stressed that under such circumstances, the principle of publicity cannot be adequately upheld.

The prosecutor proposed that hearings be conducted on Saturdays so as to avoid more grievances to students during exam period. The President asked to see a list of exam dates and accepted the proposal that the court meet on Saturdays or in the evening so as not to disrupt the student’s exams.

V. Witnesses and the position of the President on the subject of venue

After a short break, the President proceeded with the list of witnesses. Due to a technical problem, the five protected witnesses could not be phoned to confirm their presence.

The President stressed that the issue of finding a suitable room for the trial is the concern of the current political leadership and that when said leadership makes provisions for an adequate venue, the court will immediately take on the decision to relocate the proceedings. The prosecutor proposed the addition of seats to accommodate counsel for the defense.

The President declared the court adjourned until May 12 2015, such that the appointed counsel might familiarize itself with the case file. One lawyer insisted that this does not give him sufficient time to adequately examine a case file of such volume and to conduct the duties expected of the defense. The President urged him to do everything possible and made clear that any further requests would be taken into consideration at the following session.

The court was adjourned until May 12 2015.