79th Hearing, Court of Appeals, July 25th, 2016

1. Access to the Court

An altercation was caused during the audience’s entry to the courtroom, and as a result tensions rose and the process was delayed. The members of the court appeared at 09:25 and after a brief consultation with the police officer on duty, the presiding judge called for a short recess. 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 proceedings were 14 defendants and absent were 31, four of which have been ordered to personally appear before the court.  The defense counsel for Leontas Tsalikis submitted a medical certificate explaining his absence.

3. Statements by the defense counsels

Defense counsel Velentza stated that she has submitted in writing her claims about the documents that are in breach of the lift of confidentiality. The defense counsel objected to the use of documents and audiovisual material that were illegally leaked on the internet, as they constitute preliminary investigative material. Finally, she objected to the seizure report as regards the material that was procured from Chrysoula Roupakia’s confiscated car.

Defense counsel Bonis stated that following Mr. Dendias denial that he appeared at the scene of the crime, it’s necessary to call him to the witness stand, and to cross-examine him opposite witness Christidis.

Civil action counsel K. Papadakis stated that the first objection by Ms. Velentza has been covered in the pre-trial stage. As for the second objection, he commented that an illegal piece of evidence is evidence which has been procured illegally. He added that he doesn’t believe that it is necessary to call Mr. Dendias to the witness stand, but as he said “let him come to explain why the assault squads were operating uncontrollably when he was minister.”

Defense counsel Triantafylloudis stated that the former minister for Justice and Public Order N. Dendias substitutes and intervenes arbitrarily to the preliminary investigation and that this constitutes a personal application and abuse of his powers.

4. Testimony of witness Anastasios Tsolakidis

In brief, the witness stated the following: In September 2013 I was assigned to the DIAS squad of Pireaus. We were riding on two motorbikes. I was driving one of them and Legatou was with me. On the other motorbike were Biagis and Bagios. At about 11:58 we received a transmission that said: At the intersection of Tsaldaris and Ifigeneias streets 50 people with truncheons are heading towards Koralli. We arrived at the spot after about 2-3 minutes. I thought that there’s no Ifigeneias street. I turned at Kefallinias and saw the persons there. At Tsaldari and Kefallinias I turned right to P. Melas Street. There were a few people at the intersection of Pavlou Mela and Kefallinias, while further along in Pavlou Mela were about 20-30 persons standing around in groups. They were wearing black shirts and dark-colored pants. Their hands were agitated. They weren’t calm, their hands weren’t empty. Most of them weren’t holding something but some of them did. It could have been sticks. When we went into P. Mela Street we united with the police detachment from Perama, there were about 8 of us. We passed P. Mela and after 15-30 feet we parked the motorbikes at the left side of the street. I was standing diagonally to P. Mela and had a line of sight into the street. A man came (Chatzistamatis) and told me he was a police officer, too. He told me that they were anarchists and Golden Dawners and that “they’ll soon disperse”. We went towards P. Mela with Legatou and Deligiannis. Before we had time to enter P. Mela some of the people there started running. I was the commander of the group (compose of Tsolakidis, Legatou, Biagis, and Bagios). Bagios was in charge of the motorbikes. We didn’t see the two groups fight, but neither did we ask the special guard (Chatzistamatis) to tell us which group was what. We didn’t find neither anarchists nor Golden Dawners. My colleague says she saw motorbikes. I only saw people on foot. Suddenly we saw them come out running from Kefallinias towards Tsaldari, swearing and shouting “where are you going you pussies, cowards.” I didn’t see who they were addressing in this manner. Neither did we know whether there was another group. I proceeded towards P. Mela Street and they were acting as if we weren’t there. They had normal body types, 70-90 kilos and 1,70-1,90 in height. I didn’t manage to arrest even a single one of them. We were calling them to come here and they completely ignored us. When I got to the intersection of Tsaldari and Kefallinias I heard a ruckus. I saw to my left many people. I notified headquarters: “There’s too many people, send more teams.” I saw 4-5 people fighting on my right across the street. We didn’t understand who was fighting with whom. I ran accompanied by Legatou and Deligiannis. Apart from them there were scattered people in the middle of the street and more about 60-100 meters farther up the street. First on the scene was Legatou and Deligiannis. The gathered people quickly dispersed. Fyssas was furious and shouted “me, he stabbed me you guys” and pointed to Roupakias in the car. Legatou told him to “calm down, calm down”. In Tsaldari street I saw people holding various objects. They could have been anything, from brass knuckles to batons. Everything happened in the space of four minutes. I saw Roupakias in his car, sitting in the driver’s seat, 4 meters away. Rotas was there too. I asked Roupakias what he was doing there and he told he was just “passing through”. I told him to step out of the vehicle and he was calm, cool, and collected. I told him what have you done? Because Fyssas was still pointing at him and he answered: “Nothing, I was just passing through.” I looked down and saw the knife on the ground. The knife was collected by a police patrol car. I didn’t witness the stabbing. Neither did I see Roupakias get in his car. I saw no one around the vehicle and we didn’t check anyone. I remained at the scene until the ambulance came, about 40 minutes. Fyssas was standing for the first 5-10 minutes. A friend of his made him sit down. A lady that knew first aid came but left immediately. I don’t remember how many of his friends arrived on the scene. Residents from nearby started gathering.

Responding to questions by the presiding judge, the witness testified that after the incident he stayed at the murder scene and questioned the people present about what had transpired but he doesn’t remember finding any eyewitnesses. As he said, the DIAS squad dealt with the people that were running away further up the street, but he doesn’t remember anyone being brought in for questioning. Responding to a relevant question by the presiding judge the witness stated that the “up” group and the “down” group [:these are directions in the street] were involved in the same incident. In another question by the presiding judge the witness testified that the persons coming out of Tsaldari Street were running and shouting. Then the presiding judge said “So those that were going up the street were chasing someone. As you said they were shouting ‘come here’. Did you go and check who they were chasing?” The witness responded that he called headquarters and added that they did everything they could. Two or three officers received commendations.

Responding to a question by the State Prosecutor, why in his testimony the witness testified that Roupakias had the engine turned on, the hands on the wheel, he had put the car in drive, and was ready to go, the witness answered that he did not remember. What he does remember is that he opened the door, caught Roupakias by the arm and told him “you aren’t going anywhere”. The state prosecutor then asked of the witness to identify the defendants. The witness identified Roupakias.

4. Examination by the civil action counsels

Responding to relevant questions by civil action counsel Tzellis, the witness testified that he compiled the daily report after meeting (probably) with Legatou and Shift Commander Giorgas. He also testified that it is illegal to own brass knuckles, even though he did not answer whether he was obligated to arrest all those that he saw wearing a set. He went on to testify that he had parked 7-10 meters away from P. Mela Street, and not 4-5, and that he didn’t make out any faces. Responding to another question by the civil action counsel, why the observer of the team followed Tsolakidis, the latter testified that the observer intervenes only if he is close to the incident. He admitted that the Golden Dawners were relatively close. He went on to say that he did not remember Officer Bagios, only after the incident took place. He then stated that he was running 4-5 meters behind Legatou and Deligiannis and that he didn’t know who was behind him and that he didn’t see the girl that Legatou had mentioned. Responding to a question about whether Legatou was wearing a helmet his answers differed from hers. The witness answered that he didn’t remember to many of the questions posed by the civil action counsel.

Civil action counsel Kougiatsou asked the witness how it was possible that the distance between himself and the persons running up the street increased from 10 meters to 100. The witness stated that he couldn’t explain it. He called for backup but he doesn’t remember whether he told headquarters that they were carrying weapons.

Responding to a question by civil action Papadopoulou about what is the difference between a fight and an attack, the witness testified that when he sees someone running towards someone else with the obvious intent of causing him harm, then it is an attack. The witness didn’t answer whether the people that were holding those things in their hands and shouted were actually fighting.

Responding to relevant questions by civil action counsel Tobatzoglou the witness testified that he doesn’t remember why he had testified in his testimonies about a group of Golden Dawners, since he hadn’t reached a conclusion about who was on which side. The witness went on to state that the daily report is compiled after about two days, but he didn’t give an explanation as to why the daily report that he compiled was dated October 2nd. As he said, it is possible that the matter was held up internally since he doesn’t remember delaying the report for 15 days.

The presiding judge adjourned for Monday, September 5th when witness Anastasios Tsolakidis (a police officer of the DIAS squad) is slated to continue.