Court of Appeal | Day 10: The tight-knit neighborhood


Date:21 March 2024
Location:1st Mixed Court of Appeal of Athens, Room D120B, 6th floor
Access:The hearing is open to the public without restrictions.
Photojournalists are not allowed to cover the trial.
Defendants in attendance:Spyridon Dimopoulos, owner of the jewelry store
Athanasios Chortarias, owner of a real estate office

G.N., eyewitness, cafeteria “Zacharokalamo”
T.D., lawyer, business partner of the defendant Chortarias
Composition of the court:President: Alexandra Vasilakakos
Judges: Dimitrios Oikonomou, Ioanna Chatzaki
Jurors: Asimakopoulou, Athanasopoulou, Kotsopoulou, Kourou
Prosecutor: Stylianos Kostarellos

Day 10 – 21 March 2024

The procedure started at 09:28, with the accused Dimopoulos present.

Witness G.N., eyewitness, cafeteria “Zacharokalamo”

The witness G.N. testified that he was working at the “Zacharokalamo” cafeteria, which was located across the street from the jewelry shop. He said he didn’t see how Zak Kostopoulos got into the store or what happened before, he only saw the victim “breaking things in the shop.” He said that he noticed that Zak was “too white”. The confused manner in which the witness testified, forced the court to examine him exhaustively with many questions. The witness claimed that he did not see what happened with the kicks, while earlier he said that the two defendants arrived there, in front of the jewelry store, when he also came out, and they did nothing, but he mentioned at another point that the defendant Dimopoulos threw a stone. When asked by the president if the stone had hit the victim, the witness said “how much power can a stone have?”

The witness admitted that he knew the two defendants and that “Mr. Spyros”, meaning the defendant Dimopoulos, told him that the door of the jewelry store was closed. In his account of the arrival of the police and afterwards, the witness contradicted himself as to what he saw, because he claimed to have been frightened when the victim ran with a piece of glass in his hand, whereas he had previously said he saw nothing else because he had returned to his post at the bar. Further contradictions regarding the position of the jeweler, according to the witness, emerged during the examination of the witness by the district attorney. The president came back with questions. The witness described Zak as “massive”, while, in questions of the prosecution’s support, he said that he had heard from people that he was Moroccan and also said that “the neighborhood is tight”, meaning the professionals, because of the “criminality”, in which he included demonstrations and protests.

The witness testified that he did not know how Zacharias Kostopoulos had died, however, immediately afterwards, he could not answer the question “then about what did the police ask you to testify?”.

The examination of the witness continued with a number of questions from the defense in the direction of whether the victim was perceived as aggressive.

Witness T.D., lawyer, business partner of the defendant Chortarias

The next witness called was T.D., lawyer and business partner of the real estate office of the defendant Chortarias, testified.

The witness testified that he had an appointment with the defendant Chortarias for lunch and arrived at the scene when the victim was covered in blood outside the store window and the first responder bandaged his head. The witness claimed that Zak broke a piece of glass from the window with his foot to retrieve it and that he “pointed it” at the rescuer. He then described how the victim fell to the ground after being hit by a police officer with a glove and how he was restrained by the officers. The witness said that defendant Chortarias took the knife from the jewelry store and gave it to the officers, however, at that point, defendant Chortarias intervened and told him “it didn’t happen like that,” at which point the witness changed his statement and said that it might have been someone else.

When asked if he knew about the previous events, the witness replied he knew “from the video, that he wanted to steal and then the rest happened.” The witness also stated that he had shot the video of the actions of the police officers, which he gave to a journalist and was eventually published by the Ef.Syn. newspaper. In successive questions from the court and from lawyers, he insisted on the “robbery” version and attributed the behavior of the accused Chortarias to the protection of his fellow man’s property, while assuring that he is a good person and that he acted in favor of the victim.

The court adjourned at 15:05 for the next hearing on 29 March 2024.

The full text of our transcript from the courtroom (in Greek) :