Greece, Athens – Sixth appeals trial hearing of imprisoned anarchist-communist comrade Tasos Theofilou


Yiannis Kontos
The 6th hearing of the appeals trial of the anarchist-communist Tasos Theofilou at the Appeals Court of Athens, concluded today with the testimonies of the final prosecution witnesses. A high-ranking member of the counter-terrorism unit was the only witness who did not participate in the trial as he was allegedly abroad. It does not come as a surprise that, once again, none of the witnesses recognized Tasos Theofilou as one of the perpetrators of the robbery and the violent act that followed.
The first testimony was given by a woman who was standing outside the branch of Alpha Bank and witnessed the embroilment and the escape of the perpetrators.
Presiding Judge: What do you know about the case?
Witness: I was there by accident, around 8 o’ clock in the morning.
Presiding Judge: What did you see through the blinds?
Witness: I saw that it was busy and it was out of the ordinary so I decided not to go in. A van was parked on the right side of the bank. Then 3-4 people whose appearance was very strange came out. They were wearing clothes that were strange for that time of the day. Their faces were not revealed. There were many gunshots.

Presiding Judge: What did you find out afterwards?
Witness: I realized that there was a murder and then the chase begun.
Presiding Judge: Was there a sea storm on that day?
Witness: I don’t think it was windy.
Prosecutor: Did you see them (note: the robbers) on their way out?
Witness: I could not see them from where I was standing
Prosecutor: Were they wearing scarves and hats?
Witness: Yes.
Prosecutor: Were they carrying guns?
Witness: They carried large objects on one side.
Prosecutor: Did you think that those were guns?
Witness: I can’t be sure.
Prosecutor: Do you remember the order they walked out of the bank? Who was closed to the taxi-rank?
Witness: I remember that the two were taller and the third was shorter.
Prosecutor: Whom did Michas fall onto?
Witness: I think the first one. I can only tell what I saw.
Prosecutor: Which one was that?
Witness: I can’t tell them apart.
Prosecutor: Did the two carry any weapons?
Witness: I can’t be sure.
Prosecutor: Were their faces hidden?
Witness: They were wearing a lot considering it was summer.
Prosecutor: Did the they all wear hats?
Witness: I can’t be sure.
Prosecutor: As they were leaving the scene did you witness who was the shooter and the direction the shots were fired?
Witness: I do not remember.
The persistence exhibited by the prosecutor and the civil action counsels, in an effort to discover inconsistencies between the witness’ current testimony in comparison to her previous one, by suggesting “the right answers,” prompted Kostas Papadakis, Tasos Theofilou’s attorney, to comment.
“According to Article 357, paragraph 4, of the Code of Criminal Procedures, questions are not asked in order to establish that the witness would repeat their previous testimony. The witness is not expected to pass a test based on the content of the previous testimony.” he commented reasonably. Then the cross-examination of the witness started.
Kostas Papadakis- (Defendant’s attorney): Does the defendant look familiar?
Witness: I did not see any faces, I have never seen this man before, never in my life.
Papadakis: In your initial testimony, you mentioned that the shooter was the short one among the three.
Witness: That’s the angle I had at the time. Maybe it was post-traumatic shock.
Papadakis: Did you see a hat falling of someone or lying on the ground?
Witness: I cannot remember right now.
Papadakis: Were you asked by the police for your finger prints?
Witness: No.
Papadakis: Were you shown the evidence?
Witness: No.
Annie Paparrousou (Defense attorney): What did you hear about the cowboy hat?
Witness: I did not discuss with anyone afterward. I left from the island the following day.
Annie Paparrouusou said the following in relation to the way the witness was examined by the prosecutor:
“The prosecution ought to investigate innocence and guilt equally. Is a witness’ first impression always the right one? No. There was an obvious effort to lead the witness, which the witness did not consent. I am mainly interested in the connection of the defendant to the accusations.”
The next prosecution witness, who testified at court for the first time, was the only one who was shown the hat, in order to recognize it as evidence.
She began her testimony by saying the following:
“I see a young man setting on the kerb, on the small bridge (note: located close to the square, minutes before the violent embroilment erupted), talking via a hands-free device and saying the phrase: all is good. He looked at me with a strange look in his eyes. He was wearing a linen jacket, a gray top and had a tennis racket in a case on his left hand side.”
Presiding Judge: was he bulky/corpulent?
Witness: I wouldn’t call him bulky.
Presiding Judge: Did you see him afterward?
Witness: I never saw anyone again.
Presiding Judge: What did he look like?
Witness: He had brown curly hair, small beard and bright-coloured eyes.
Presiding Judge: Was the beard fake?
Witness: I can’t say for sure.
Presiding Judge: Was he wearing a hat?
Witness: Yes, it was beige, cream, like a cowboy hat.
Presiding Judge: What was he doing?
Witness: In my opinion he had a 360 degrees angle.
Presiding Judge: Do you recognize the defendant?
Witness: No, I have not seen hm.
Presiding Judge: Are you sure?
Witness: I am sure.
Next, the witness was asked whether she was shown a hat, how it was brought to her and whether she actually saw it. In her response she stated that she “took a close look,” “they got it out of the bag,” while “they must have held it with something. There were two people not wearing any kind of uniform, but had gloves on.’
Annie Paparrousou: Did you hold the hat?
Witness: No.
Paparrousou: Were you shown a picture of the arrestee ?
Witness: I do not remember. I have my doubts but I must have been shown some pictures.
“This is the first and only witness who was shown the hat. There were 26 prosecution witnesses in total, why was not anyone else summoned to see and recognize this hat? When the investigator showed her pictures, the witness did no recognize Theofilou and this is recorded, it means that the intention was to penalize Theofilou and not to find out the truth” commented Kostas Papadakis.
“I saw a man behind the counter, the staff was ”frozen” and a gentleman was sitting down. Then, it so happened that one of the robbers turned around and I saw that he was wearing a scarf. Another one behind the counter was wearing a cowboy hat,” testified the next witness.
Presiding Judge: Long or short sleeves?
Witness: I do not remember.
Presiding Judge: Was he wearing glasses?
Witness: I think the two were wearing glasses. I did not take a detailed look on third one.
Presiding Judge: At what distance did you look at him?
Witness: It must have been about 6 metres, I imagine.
Presiding Judge: How did they get out of the bank?
Witness: One was behind the other, running.
Presiding Judge: Where were you?
Witness: Across the street (note: from the bank entrance).
Presiding Judge: What was your visibility?
Witness: It was good.
Presiding Judge: How did they shoot?
Witness: Obviously for intimidation, they did not want to kill .
Presiding Judge: Whom did Michas (note: the victim) fall onto?
Witness: I do not know, I thought I was watching a western movie.
Presiding Judge: Did you see a hat on the ground?
Witness: I think, I can’t be sure. A cellphone was on the ground.
Papadakis: Were you shown a hat?
Witness: I don’t think so, what had I said? (the audience is laughing).
Papadakis: Does the defendant look familiar?
Witness: This one is a good guy, I can tell.
Annie Paparrousou: In your second testimony on the 3/10/2012 were you asked to identify him? He was already under arrest.
Witness: I do not remember what I was shown, I do not have a good memory. I can’t even remember what I ate yesterday.
“I was at the square in an office where we were having coffee. We heard someone say “there is a robbery going on” and two gunshots. I saw two people dressed up with their guns facing  upwards, the two were in blue, the other one in green. Demetris (note: the victim) fell onto one of them” said the next eye-witness.
Presiding Judge:  He fell  onto whom?
Witness: Not the one with the cowboy hat.
Presiding  Judge: What did he look like?
Witness: He was dressed in blue.
Presiding Judge: And the hat?
Witness: Summer hat, with a brim.
Presiding Judge: Did they get into a fight?
Witness: There was a struggle.
Presiding Judge: How many shots were heard?
Witness: At least three.
Presiding Judge: When did you testify?
Witness: In the afternoon on that same day, I think.
Presiding Judge: Were you shown a hat?
Witness: No, I was not shown a hat.
Presiding Judge: Did you see it?
Witness: Very quickly.
Presiding Judge: What colour was it?
Witness: Was it green, was it fuchsia….
Presiding Judge: Was it worn by the shooter?
Witness: I cannot say.
Prosecutor: Who struggled with Michas (note: the victim)?
Witness: I am under the impression it was with the last one.
Prosecutor: The one wearing a white jacket?
Witness: With the last one.
Papadakis: Do you recognize the defendant?
Witness: I cannot recognize him.
Papadakis: Was there a hat on the ground?
Witness: There was a hat on the ground.
Papadakis: Did the police ask any questions regarding the hat?
Witness: I can’t remember.
While the witness was standing at the crime scene, he was given a mobile phone by an unknown person.
Paparrousou (Theofilou’s attorney): Why were you given the phone?
Witness: I don’t know, I was told it was from the fight.
“At that time I was at the confectionery-cafe I work. Around 8 o’ clock, I heard someone say “There is a robbery going on” and headed to the bank. I saw the blinds closed and three people came out soon after. Out of the three, one was taller than the others” said the next prosecution witness.
Presiding Judge: What kind of hats did they wear?
Witness: A cowboy hat at the front, I can’t recall the others…
Presiding Judge: What colour was it?
Witness: I do not remember.
Presiding Judge: Were they wearing glasses?
Witness: I do not remember.
According to the witness, the robber who fought with the victim was “the shortest, with the short black hair,” which irritated the prosecution.
Presiding Judge: Did Michas fall on the ground from embracing the robber (note: during the struggle)?
Witness: I believe so, but did not actually witness that.
Presiding Judge: What type of clothing did the one who struggled with Michas wearing?
Witness: I do not remember. I grabbed a stone, I wanted to get his attention but did not make it.
Presiding Judge: How far away were you standing from Michas?
Witness: 15-20 metres.
Presiding Judge: Do you recognize the defendant at all?
Witness: No.
The witness did not notice the infamous hat or a cellphone on the ground, while he was never shown any evidence collected from the crime scene.
Prosecutor: Which one of the three did Michas struggle with?
Witness: It must have been the last one.
Prosecutor: Did he fire any shots against you?
Witness: He turned his gun against me, but I squatted behind a car.
“I did not see anyone shooting at me or threatening me” responded the witness with disarming sincerity to a question posed by the defendant’s counsel Kostas Papadakis. The witness did not even remember hearing a gunshot.
“I saw him here for the first time” answered the next witness, an employee at a nearby hotel, to a question of the presiding judge on whether Theofilou looked familiar. She spoke of someone aged 39-40 years old, with a beige jacket, cowboy hat, glasses, dark skin, beard, sideburns, “really tall with broad shoulders” who asked information from her regarding renting a room at the hotel.
“I saw this young man (note: Tasos Theofilou) for the first time at court, when you called us” stated the final witness of the case. After all, he had never heard of anyone recognize him as the robber, or of any collected evidence, while he could not remember where he had signed his initial testimony.
The next hearing was on Friday February 17th at the Athens Court of Appeals room 120B, 6th floor, 9 pm.
(via Hit and Run, translated by BlackCat)

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