Τhe Appeals Court in Athens adjourned after a short session of Tuesday, after the presiding judge questioned the claim of state prosecutor that the Golden Dawn leadership had a “prior clean criminal records” and would therefore remain out of jail until the case is examined at second instance court.
Judge Maria Lepeniotou also questioned the prosecutor’s claim that former GD MP and acting MEP Giannis Lagos had not violated restrictions during the pre-trial process, pointing to rulings indicating that he had.
According to Skai TV, the presiding judge said that at least eleven defendants have criminal records and have been convicted for robbery, dangerous bodily harm, attempted murder and murder.
Lepeniotou also reportedly said that prosecutor’s claim that defendants have not violated restrictive conditions imposed on them during the trial is not entirely accurate, pointing to evidence ( court decision of 2019) that Lagos has violated his terms.
However, again prosecutor Adamantina Oikonomou called for all convicted defendants, with the exception of Fyssas’ murderer Giorgos Roupakias, to receive suspended sentences until their appeal can be heard.
Last week, the court sentenced the GD leadership to 13 years in prison and smaller sentences for other former MPs and party members linked to crimes.
GD member Giorgos Roupakias, who was given a life sentence plus 14 years for the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas, is the only convict who is not eligible for a suspension.
Media reported of tension between the presiding judge and the prosecutor at the session on Tuesday.
The judge gave the prosecutor until 11 a.m. on Wednesday to provide evidence that Lagos (MEP) has not violated his restrictive conditions imposed on him during the trial.
The judges are not obliged to adopt the prosecutor’s proposals. However, they have to go by the book in order to avoid complains about the judicial procedure.
Once these issues are clear, the judges will announce who of the convicts will go to jail and who will receive suspended sentences until the appeal, normally given to sentences up to 5 years.
The prosecutor’s proposals, first articulated on Monday, triggered strong reactions not only among the victims’ lawyers but also in opposition parties.
Criticism was expressed also by media, with Skai TV court reporter to speak of “a heavy shadow of bias” on the part of the prosecutor.
On social media, frustrated Greeks lashed out at the prosecutor.
The Union of Greek Prosecutors issued a statement on Tuesday saying that “the bona fide criticism of the judicial judgment of the prosecutors is respected, but this criticism must not exceed any measure of decency and tend to be a lever of pressure and insult of the free will of the judicial officers.”