The effort of Mr. Giannis Argyros, Public Prosecutor in the Limassol Court, to win damages, from a lawsuit against the newspaper “Politis” of the publisher G. Papadopoulos and the signatory, for almost 8 years, for a publication of May 2014 concerning him. His attempt was in vain and his lawsuit was dismissed, while the court awarded him the costs. Mr. Argyrou was claiming compensation of € 40,000 and, as mentioned in the decision of Judge Chr. Mitletton, even if he proved his claims, the compensation that would be awarded in his favor would be only € 100! During these 8 years, Mr. Argyrou, in addition to the lawsuit, appealed to the Committee on Journalistic Ethics, the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, the Police, etc., without any result for him. In fact, the Committee on Journalistic Ethics not only rejected his complaint, but also criticized him for the style and content of his letter.
For a paper
The case concerned a publication of “P” on May 15, 2014, according to which there was a disturbance in the Limassol court, because a police officer took a certificate signed by Mr. Argyrou and made a complaint against him to the TAE. The certificate concerned a student, who had testified as a witness in a trial and had to justify a 2-month absence from her School in Greece! The certificate concerned the period March 17 to May 13, 2014, while the girl had given a deposit which was completed on April 3! At the same time, Mr. Argyrou allegedly assured the girl's friend, who was accused in another case, that he would take care to remove his data from the stop list. The police officer who was in Mr. Argyros's office, suspecting that it was a false certificate, took the paper and left, with Mr. Argyrou following him, asking for the help of another police officer, to get the certificate back. These events were recorded the next day in a report by “P”, which Mr. Argyrou considered defamatory and proceeded with the registration of a lawsuit.
Lots of drama
Public Prosecutor G. Argyrou, among other things, in his lawsuit in which he claimed damages of tens of thousands of euros from “P”, stated that due to the publication: Anxiety, sadness, agony, sadness, great anger, he felt injustice, he was dragged away, he was condemned and he fell into isolation, contempt, disrepute and ridicule, his personality and reputation were affected, he received negative comments, while his quality of life and psychology were affected. adversely “. According to Mr. Argyrou, the publication of “P” that concerned him “means or falsely implies that he committed the criminal offense of preparing a false document, that he participated in a scandal or criminal act, that he is involved and collaborates with others to promote opacity and that he has committed misconduct, indecent or unethical conduct and is corrupt, that he has abused his position and capacity to commit criminal offenses and that he is guilty of criminal offenses or an immoral man who insults the institution of the Attorney General of the Republic ” . He also claimed that the publication had caused “great upheaval in his family and professional environment”.
The words and the meaning
Mr. Argyrou considered, among other things, as reprehensible the reports that he “chased” the police officer who received the certificate. According to him, he did not chase him but followed him. The judge, in her decision, points out that “the way the journalist communicates with the reading public, the society, is not disconnected from the style and the general characteristics of the way and the rhythm of his expression; those that compose his journalistic identity. What matters is what the reading externalizes as meaning, objectively “. It is also stressed that justice officials (such as Mr. Argyrou) “inevitably are subject to criticism that includes sharp, harsh and sometimes annoying speech. Accordingly, tolerance and especially stability is expected in the purpose of serving the interest of justice, without allowing fear or passion or other emotional states to interfere and determine the continuation “.
€ 100 would be enough
The court decision states that Mr. Argyrou “had the opportunity to reconstruct or answer on the substance, however he, according to the content of his own testimony, limited himself to asking for explanations or then to attempt to punish the Defendants. (“P”) and the police officer (who received the certificate) “. The judge ruled that even if “P” was convicted of defamation, “the court would only lead to nominal damages of € 100.00, as the most appropriate treatment. With all due respect, I do not consider that the Plaintiff (G. Argyrou) has proved that he suffered damage that could be determined in court at € 40,000.00, as suggested by his lawyer “. Finally, the court completely rejected the lawsuit of Mr. Argyros, awarding him the costs of the trial. “P” in the trial was represented by lawyer Kalia Georgiou.