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Nicosia,
21 January, 2019
 
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Accusations of withheld evidence in Strovolos trial

Defence team raises issue of “fair trial” in Strovolos double murder

Newsroom

There were intense moments in the courtroom on Wednesday, with some of the attorneys on the defence team in the Strovolos double murder trial accusing the prosecution of withholding evidence.

The criminal trial resumed Wednesday morning with new witnesses, following submission of evidence on Monday which also marked the end of last week’s trial within trial.

The attorney for Loizos Tzionis, the main defendant in the case, withdrew claims on Monday that his client had his rights violated by interrogators.

Tzionis had said in his testimony that he was feeling constant pressure by police investigators. But during his cross examination where was peppered with questions by the prosecutor, he admitted that pressure was a result of his giving different scenarios and agreed with the prosecution that the questions were not of the ordinary.

The presiding judge ruled that it appeared to have been a misunderstanding and called on all sides to have all testimonies and documents on time in order to speed things up

On Wednesday, prosecutor Theodora Papakyriakou called police officer Andreas Daniel to take the witness stand, who was the photographer and an investigator at the crime scene.

During Daniel’s testimony, Sotiris Argyrou who is the attorney for Sara Siams, a co-defendant in the case, protested that he was not given a number documents and that several other documents were not received in a timely manner.

The prosecution team, headed by Polina Efthyvoulou, said they had previously told the court they would call a photographer to take the witness stand, adding that there were some issues with delivering documents.

“The documents were not withheld on purpose. I don’t believe their ability to follow Mr Daniel’s testimony is diminished,” the prosecutor said.

The presiding judge ruled that it appeared to have been a misunderstanding and called on all sides to have all testimonies and documents on time in order to speed things up.

“If we could know in advance who are the witnesses, it would be best,” another attorney said who represents Marios Hadjixenofondos, another co-defendant in the case.

“I won’t have this, your honour,” Efthyvoulou replied.

The prosecutor told the court that she notifies them in advance when she will bring up witnesses.

“What else do they want? Should I list all the names? This is not about secrecy,” she added.

“I am having to go through three thousand photographs and review depositions, spending my time trying to locate the material evidence. This is really sad,” Argyrou said.

“Me too,” Efthyvoulou said.

“Are you making a request to the court or are you just complaining?” the judge asked.

“My position is that we are being denied a fair trial. If we are given all the material evidence, we may take this differently,” Argyrou said.

Tzionis’ lawyer also weighed in, saying he did not receive some documents.

“I won’t claim that evidence is being withheld on purpose. I did send a fax asking for specific items that I never received,” Anastasiou said.

The trial was set continue onto other topics, including photographs from the medical exam of the 15-year-old boy who was the son of the murdered couple.

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