With the testimonies of four prosecution witnesses, three of which were employed at the branch of Alpha Bank in Naousa, Paros, and one was a colleague and friend of the victim Demetris Michas, the trial of the anarchist-communist resumed today at the Athens Court of Appeals. In contrast to the two previous witnesses- the sister of the victim Maria Micha-Bekiari and the anti-terrorism high ranking official- the witnesses in this session deconstructed, more or less, the charges and revealed the manipulations of the prosecuting authorities.
The first witness who was called to testify worked as a supervisor at the bank branch which was robbed by three people on the 10th of August 2012.
“The first person who came in was wearing a cowboy hat with a scarf – or a cap- underneath, glasses, a short sleeved polo shirt and a cross-body bag. He was around 1.80m tall, slim, had a beard and his arms were uncovered. Next, two more people came in, one was around 1.75-1.76m tall and completely covered. He threatened me, pushed me over the safe-deposit box, asked me to press the pin and led me to manager’s office. The third, around 1.70m, with glasses, beard, had a fake nose attached and was wearing a legion hat which covered his ears and sat facing in the opposite direction of the counter. Then the timer went-off and they became irritated, the third one said “they have noticed us from the outside.” They took 59.640 euro, opened the door, left and then I heard three gunshots,” he said.
To a question posed by the Judge, as to what aspects did Tasos Theofilou look similar to one of the perpetrators, he replied: “Only in terms of height, he is similar to the first one, I cannot say otherwise.”
“Is 1.80m a rare height?” asked the defence attorney Kostas Papadakis. “No, it is the most common one” admitted the witness. “Weren’t you asked anything about the hat?” he continued. “No, personally, I was never shown the hat, they asked me based on the photograph,” clarified the witness and as it turns out he was not the only one. The infamous hat, the only piece of ‘evidence’ of those crimes, has never, as the testimonies of the rest of the witnesses reveal, been shown to anyone by the police, which was responsible for conducting the investigation of the case.
According to the witness, the hat was transferred inside the bank “in an almost transparent, ordinary bag.” “I do not remember the time it was brought in or the time it was taken out and who said that it was collected from the spot the embroilment had taken place.” “The very fact that the hat was brought in inside a bag is not mentioned in the case file, this is something you have just contributed,” commented the defence attorney Annie Paparrousou.
This witness, insisted, however, that one of the perpetrators had stated : “We won’t take customer’s money.” This statement, which was proven to be false based on following testimonies, has been used by the prosecution as well as systemic media in order to construct the ‘political’ foundation of this action and by extension to prove the guilt of Tasos Theofilou.
“Did you provide biological material?” was the next logical question, which he responded to negatively. Only finger prints had been taken.
The alleged statement of one of the perpetrators was refuted in the most emphatic way according to the testimony of the next witness, a bank employee who clarified that it was her who made that statement. “That is not what he said,” she explained, regarding the perpetrator. “I was the one who said “this is not bank money, this is the customer’s money.” He then asked the customer whether the money was his and he said yes.” “Then I won’t take it,” he said.” The witness went on with her testimony and with courage and humanity put an end to the intentional rumours about the political character of this act.
“How much money did they take from you?” asked the president.
“I don’t remember. I was in shock for many hours,” she replied.
“Does the defendant look familiar?”
“I can’t say for sure. If you are not sure about something, it’s best not to say anything,” she highlighted.
“What about his voice?”
“I could never recall the voice, there was nothing characteristic about it,” said the witness.
In accordance with the statement of the previous witness, the current witness mentioned that the hat was carried by police officers who were outside the bank, inside an ordinary transparent bag, on its own.
“It was a given that this was the hat. What would they ask us? If it weren’t we would wonder “what is this?” and we would discuss it,” added the witness.
The characteristics of the person who was allegedly wearing the hat were covered, he had a short sleeved t-shirt on, his skin was pale and hairless and according to the witness, his right hand was covered with a translucent glove. “That is why he did not leave any finger prints on the scene,” concluded the witness, who, was only able to recognize the glove when she watched the CCTV footage from the robbery during the first instance proceedings.
“Did you not tell them there was a video?”
“I thought they knew. I watched it with another witness one day before my testimony at court. I wanted to watch it to be 100% sure.”
“Watching this video does not comply with the objectivity that witnesses ought to demonstrate,” said Annie Paparrousou, one of Tassos Theofilou’s attorneys.
“Did they ask you for a DNA sample?”
“I do not remember such a thing.”
Next, followed the testimony of another witness, who managed to irritate the judge as well as the prosecutor on account of contradictions and descriptions that refuted the evidence.
“Demetris (the victim) was embroiled with one of the three. They were completely covered, even their faces. I was not very near, around two meters away. The only thing I realized were the gunshots. I can’t remember who the shooter was. Demetris was looking directly at the face of one of the robbers and restrained him by grabbing his side and front. The other two managed to release the third and close-range gunshots were heard, while the third was being released. They were holding each other, the three had become one body. The one who was released did not shoot in close range, he shot in the air once and once more towards the taxis. Following that, the three left together while firing their guns. A gray cowboy hat was on the ground, I did not notice whom it had fallen off, cannot remember who was wearing it. Someone, from the people who had gathered around, must have collected it. I also saw a cellphone fallen in a 2 meter radius from where Michas (the victim) was lying. After the incident we covered him with a sheet and left. I could not bear to stay there any longer,” he added.
The testimony of the eye witness, colleague and friend of the victim was completed with the fact that the witness did not identify the cowboy hat, worn by one of the perpetrators of the robbery, as the same hat that was photographed on the scene, which constituted the main incriminating evidence for the crimes that were committed. This very fact irritated the prosecutor who very loudly rushed to characterize the testimony of the witness “contradictory” and the civil suit counsel “unreliable.”
“He speaks like witnesses do, unfeigned and naturally,” counter-argued Annie Paparrousou.
“The witness is fine, he is the most reliable in the description of the events,” noted Spyros Fytrakis.
“He had no reason to lie in favour of the defendant,” highlighted Kostas Papadakis.
The next hearing of the trial is scheduled for February the third, Room D120B, Athens Court of Appeals, (6th floor) 9 am.