Partially compliant with the measures to curb the coronavirus appeared yesterday morning the Metropolitan of Morphou Neophytos in the courtroom, where the hearing process of the case against him began.
The bishop arrived about five minutes before the scheduled start of the hearing (10:30) and left shortly afterwards, with the process unfolding without his presence.
As we were informed a little later, Neophytos had made the necessary arrangements for a safepass, but he was not prepared to wear a mask to watch the court proceedings live. Thus, he was not allowed to enter.
As it is known, he became ill with coronavirus (on August 19 last year he had confirmed that he was screened by Covid-19) and therefore he met the conditions for the issuance of a relevant certificate.
During yesterday's trial, evidence was submitted by the responsible investigator of the case. Among other things, visual material was delivered from the metropolitan's speeches at religious gatherings, as well as the testimony he gave to the Police. October 12 is set for planning.
It should be noted that the judge ruled that the presence of the metropolitan was not necessary for the start of the trial, since the commitment was made -through the lawyer of Nikos Clerides- that at any time it is deemed necessary for the natural presence of Neophytos to arrive immediately. Mr. Clerides promised to bring his client to such a possibility, and so the process proceeded.
Neophytos is faced with accusations arising from the performance of the Divine Liturgy and the Sanctification of the Waters on the day of the Epiphany (6/01/2021) in Evrychos, but also from his refusal to pay the fine of 300 euros that had been imposed on him .
The most serious of them want him to wake up the people to violate the measures that were imposed then to stop the coronavirus pandemic.
Once again, the bishop's lawyer, Nikos Clerides, raised the issue of unconstitutionality.
In his statements to “P” after the end of the court proceedings, he stated: “Our position is that the whole procedure and the entire indictment are based on decrees which are illegal and unconstitutional, and I asked the court to speak on behalf of the accused. For this subject. The court did not allow me to speak in advance, but I will put this in the course of the trial “.
Regarding the proceedings of the hearing, Mr. Clerides stated: “The most pious came to court and presented the safepass. Nevertheless, he was not allowed to enter the court, so the case was heard in the absence of the accused. I represented the accused and the testimony of the investigator was heard, who testified all the evidence and the testimonies received for the specific case “.
“He did not wake up…”
Neophytos does not admit the accusations made against him, nor does he seem to change his attitude for the time being. It should be recalled that on August 4, Mr. Clerides had stated, among other things, that “του his defense is that he did not incite anyone, he simply performed his religious duties based on the rights and duties he has as a hierarch and which are secured and protected from the Constitution “.
The situation outside the criminal courts was nothing like the images we experienced at the beginning of last month when Neophytos was brought there for the first time. Neither a large number of supporters, nor private security guards, nor extreme events of the faithful (some of them prayed kneeling on 04/08). About 10 supporters of the metropolitan were outside the courtroom, who around 10:25, when he arrived at the spot, applauded him warmly and for a long time. The bishop sat for a very short time in a chair that was brought to the spot outside the court, and when he was informed five minutes later about the -expected- decision of the judge not to accept him without a mask, he left. The faithful had brought with them a portable loudspeaker from which chants were constantly heard. The presence of the Police was noticeable, but numerically reduced and discreet. Suffice it to note that in the previous court proceedings there were at least 40 members of the force.
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