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Decision reserved as Thanasis case takes unforeseen path

Court faces clash over expert testimony in Thanasis case


Forensic pathologist Panikos Stavrianos remained absent from today's proceedings in the death interrogation of 26-year-old Thanasis Nikolaou.

This absence, however, sparked a series of new requests from the Legal Service and the family's lawyers, intensifying tensions between the two sides.

The court is set to make pivotal rulings on these motions next Friday, December 8, at 11:30.

The day's events commenced with the Legal Service representative revealing Mr. Stavrianos' inability to attend due to acute gastroenteritis.

He is expected to appear in court on December 11 for cross-examination by the family's lawyer, as initially scheduled. Efforts to have the police examiner and the individual responsible for transporting Nikolaou's remains testify today were thwarted due to their unavailability.

Amidst the unfolding developments, the court learned that the anthropologist who examined Thanasis' exhumed bones and the police sergeant who documented forensic reports would be summoned to testify.

Tension escalated when the Republic's lawyer urged the inclusion of expert forensic pathologist Dr. Andreas Marnerides as a witness. Dr. Marnerides, known for his work in Great Britain and collaboration with the Republic of Cyprus on serious cases, was appointed by the Attorney General as an independent examiner.

He recently submitted his findings electronically after examining the testimonial material.

The Republic's lawyer proposed Dr. Marnerides testify in the last ten days of December, during his stay in Cyprus, and examine Nikolaou's bone plates before providing testimony.

The court, however, raised questions about the timing of this request and the necessity for his testimony after two years of examinations and expert reports.

Allegations of "hostility" from the court were met with the Legal Service's assertion that their aim is to contribute to the truth. The Attorney General's ruling mandates Dr. Marnerides' memo and testimony to be presented before the death investigator.

The family's lawyer questioned the absence of Dr. Marnerides in the previous proceedings and objected to his involvement, vowing to request a six-month postponement for additional examinations and findings from three other experts if his testimony is granted.

Moreover, the family's lawyer contested the credibility of forensic expert Panikos Stavrianos, citing contradictions in his prior testimonies and criminal charges.

He argued that the ECHR's conviction of the Republic of Cyprus in Thanasis Nikolaou's death is based on Stavrianos' "errors and omissions," suggesting the investigation is veering off course.

Following a brief adjournment, the court, recognizing the gravity of the requests, decided to reserve its decision until next Friday, December 8.

[With information sourced from CNA]

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