Court of Appeal | Day 11: Completion of the examination of witnesses for the prosecution

Summary

Date:29 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
Process:Witnesses:
Loukas Stamellos, journalist (OmniaTV); T.N., eyewitness; P.K., friend of the defendant Hortarias
Reading of pre-trial testimony of witness S.Ts. (“man with the yellow T-shirt”)
Composition of the court:President: Alexandra Vasilakakos
Judges: Dimitrios Oikonomou, Ioanna Chatzaki
Jurors: Asimakopoulou, Athanasopoulou, Kotsopoulou, Kourou
Prosecutor: Stylianos Kostarellos

Day 11 – 29 March 2024

The procedure started at 09:24, with both defendants present.

Witness Loukas Stamellos, journalist (OmniaTV)

Loukas Stamellos, called by the counsel in support of the prosecution, testified as a journalist for the relevant investigation carried out by the medium he works for, OmniaTV, surrounding the circumstances of the fatal beating of Zak Kostopoulos. The witness said he knew Zak Kostopoulos, but said the case seemed strange even before the victim’s identity was known, which piqued the interest of the outlet’s journalistic team. He testified that his colleagues from the first moment looked for which shops had cameras and referred them in a relevant article published, while in the neighborhood there was a general climate of silence, with all the adjacent shopkeepers giving common answers, such as that the victim “was a suicide”. The witness referred to the man in the yellow T-shirt who is present in all the videos and was never sought to testify, something he was forced to do after reports and appeals made through the newspaper Ef.Syn. and OmniaTV.

The witness also referred to the public posts made by the defendant Chortarias with an account bearing his own name on Twitter, as well as the process by which it was proven that a second, pseudonymous account with the name “Snake” belonged to him and spread misinformation about the events as well as threats.

Witness T.N., eyewitness

Then the witness T.N., who was working at the time as an employee of a security company in a store in Kaningos Square, testified. The witness said he saw the victim moving inside the jewelry store and then trying to escape when he was kicked, while he emphatically stated that he did not see a knife. He also saw some items being thrown at the store earlier. He cited Zach Kostopoulos’ last attempt to run as an attempt to escape “in the wrong direction.”

Witness P.K., friend of the defendant Chortarias

The next witness is a friend of the accused Hortarias, with whom he had also arranged to eat at an adjacent restaurant, “Rumeli”. The witness said that as soon as they sat down with the accused at the table, before they were even served, they heard a commotion and saw the victim trying to break the door of the jewelry store with the fire extinguisher. He also said the top of the display case was already broken. He claimed that the victim was hitting the bottom half of the glass window with his head and that he “may have been hit by two of the kicks”, which he said the defendant Chortarias delivered in an attempt to clean the glasses. The witness said that “if the kicks were violent, he (the victim) would not have been able to move”. He also spoke of “more general delinquency” in the area. The multiple contradictions of the witness, both in relation to his present testimony, as well as to that in the first instance court, but also to the investigation, led the court to come back several times with clarifying questions.

Reading of pre-trial testimony of witness Ts. S. (“man in the yellow shirt”)

Upon completion of the examination of the indictment and supporting witnesses, the court decided to read the testimony of the witness Ts. S., known as the “man in the yellow shirt” from the videos of the events, reportedly did not come forward and the police said they searched for him and could not be found.

His entire testimony is published here.

The defense and prosecution lawyers then commented on the testimony of “the man in the yellow T-shirt”.

The court adjourned at 13:58 for the next hearing on 10 April 2024.

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

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