Very serious aspects of the court decision with which the lawyer Panagiotis Neokleous was convicted are raised by the defense lawyer of Aleko Markidis in the appeal that has been registered. The points of appeal concerning the fair trial raise many questions regarding the handling of the case, from the level of the police investigation, the criminal prosecution, to the evaluation of the testimonies and the evidence by the Criminal Court. Mr. Neokleous has appealed both the conviction and the sentence imposed on him by the court. The other three convicts in the same case, Rikos Erotokritou, Andreas Kyprizoglou and the law firm “A. Neocleous DEPE “.
“Works” of the foot
One of the important reasons put forward in the appeal for the challenge of a fair trial is that “the court of first instance ignored and / or did not adequately or otherwise take into account the irregularities committed during the investigation and / or criminal prosecution in the present case”. The impartiality of the accusing authority (Attorney General – Public Prosecutor) is also questioned and it is alleged that it did not work in favor of justice. There are also points which, in the view of Mr. Neocleous's lawyer, should have been taken into account by the Criminal Court, which, however, omitted them, such as “the content of the modern, valid version of the English Code for Crown Prosecutors”, content of the Havana Instructions and Guidelines on the action of prosecutors “etc.
Prosecutor, witness, involved
A large part of the reasoning of the appeal concerns the Attorney General Costas Clerides, who in this case wore all the “hats”. While he was undoubtedly in a personal confrontation with R. Erotokritou, he was at the same time the accusing authority, while he also wore the cloak of a witness. But he did not stay only in these roles. Before there was even a criminal prosecution, Mr. Clerides had become a “judge” with his public statements. According to the appeal, “the court of first instance did not take into account that in the present case the Attorney General during his contact with the media, a few days after the delivery of the conclusion of the criminal investigator Panagiotis Kallis, essentially violated the presumption of innocence.” . The Attorney General, despite the fact that as a prosecution witness in the case should not have known the testimonies of the other witnesses and the evidence before they were submitted to the court, had access to all the material of the trial. He even confirmed by swearing “that he had examined all the evidence, including the testimony of two civil servants serving in the Criminal Record of the Legal Service of the Republic, one of whom was also in charge of the Criminal Record of the Legal Service. Both of these witnesses testified that the Providencia file was sent to the Attorney General by Ricko Erotokritou for approval and that the Attorney General had read and examined it before giving the two criminal investigators Pelagia and Socrates his own statement at the trial. “
Only the owls…
The Prosecutor General, as a witness in the case, tried to hide the fact of the bad relations he had with R. Erotokritou and, as it appears from the first instance decision, he did not tell the truth. The findings of the Criminal Court state that at some point, “when the Assistant Attorney General entered the Attorney General's office, the latter told him ' only the bastards enter without knocking on the door.' “Knock on the door again before you enter my office .” Mr. Clerides also referred to a 2-3 day crisis on the part of the Police to send him the investigative file of Providencia, while at the same time he admitted that he told his private ” to tell them if they do not bring them within the next day heads will fall “. Mr. Clerides also appeared before the court in an insulting manner for the testimonies of two employees of the Legal Service who confirmed that the file of the criminal case for Providencia was forwarded to him. He used the phrase ” maybe it was Kozini Pefti, because these envelopes never came to my office “.
Determined before the investigation
Sufficiently revealing of the way K. Clerides worked in the case is his decision to appoint two new criminal investigators, after the refusal of Mr. P. Kallis to continue with the interrogation. As he noted, the appointment was not aimed at changing in any way ” the general conclusion and conclusions that a case is being substantiated “, but “in order to strengthen the case “. That is, the mandate to the new criminal investigators was not about a full investigation of the case, but only to strengthen it against the then mere suspects of the case.
Mr. K. Clerides, moreover, in the press conference he had given on April 14, 2015, had expressed the hint that the set aside of the absentee decision (for the lawsuit of R. Erotokritos against former Laiki) was due to the appointment of a second lawyer. This is despite the fact that the second lawyer (Alekos Evangelou) was appointed only a few days before the final hearing of the resignation request with a written text prepared by Neokleous's office.
He also cut a sentence
The appeal makes extensive reference to what the Attorney General stated before criminal proceedings were even instituted and proves his prejudice. Characteristic is the excerpt in his press conference which, among other things, stated that the testimony material ” reveals the commission by the Assistant Attorney General of the criminal offense of decimation of a public official in violation of Article 100 (A) of the Penal Code (ch. 149) by receiving the benefit of the court decision in absentia for the sake of energy during the performance of his function, an offense which provides for imprisonment of up to 7 years “. The Attorney General, possibly “excited” by the turn of the case, allegedly violated the presumption of innocence of the accused by repeatedly making public statements. He spoke of a ” reasoned conclusion ” of a criminal investigator, of a ” thorough analysis of the surrounding testimony “, that R. Erotokritou allegedly avoided informing him ” fearing their overthrow “, as he intended to serve the law firm Neo. He also spoke about an agreed consideration and / or consideration for the non-appearance of Neokleous's office in the trial of the lawsuit, for serving the financial interests of R. Erotokritos, etc. All this is mentioned in the report of P. Kalis, which was never given to the accused and of course was not made public.
The sequel is known. The Attorney General studies the testimonies received by all the criminal investigators, identifies the unpleasant testimonies of the employees of the criminal record of the Legal Service, writes a letter (instead of giving a testimony) that the facts are different from what the two say officials and decides and orders criminal prosecution. He also appoints two private lawyers to handle the criminal case, maintains contact with these lawyers to handle the case, appears as a prosecution witness, is discriminated against, immediately accepting to listen to lawyer Pampos Ioannidis because he must overturn the instructions of R. Erotokritos in the Providencia case for the criminal prosecution of Russian suspects, he also refuses to meet with lawyers Antonis Andreou and Andreas Neokleous, in order for the latter to explain to him that he should have been prosecuted and, by appearing as a prosecution witness in the same case, in pressure on judges.
Appointments with witnesses
The appeal also makes extensive reference to the way in which the public prosecutor H. Stefanou operated, who allegedly met with almost all the prosecution witnesses before they appeared in court. In fact, according to Mr. Neokleous's lawyer, these meetings resulted in most witnesses adding new testimony to what they had presented to investigators. The subsidiary P. Kleitou added a whole new chapter to his deposition, while the former Chief of Police Michalakis Papageorgiou was expanded in the context of the main examination in a new testimony of about 10 pages.
The testimony was extended by about 20 pages by the former Attorney General Petros Clerides. A similar phenomenon was observed with the testimonies of the Attorney General K. Clerides, the Prosecutor Elena Cleopa, the police Barbara Pontou and the MP Irini Charalambidou.