Alexoui’s lawyer came very close to securing the release of his client on Wednesday, after arguing police could not deprive someone of his freedom based on contradictory witness statements, but a judge needed another day to decide whether to grant bail.
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During a bail hearing on Wednesday for Nicosia businessman Alexis “Alexoui” Mavromichalis, who was remanded in custody last week in connection with an attempted murder case, the defence attorney accused police of coaxing a shooting victim into accusing his client based on ulterior motives.
Mavromicalis’ defence attorney Andros Pelekanos argued in court that police did not have a solid basis to keep his client behind bars, arguing that allegations were based on contradictory statements and a personal vendetta. A criminal case was filed earlier on Wednesday as an 8-day remand was set to expire.
The attorney asked about the identity of a second witness, who appeared to have incriminating evidence according to police, telling the judge he had doubts that such a witness was even a real person
Alexoui is accused of being behind the attempted murder of Panicos “Glykas” Panayiotou, who was shot multiple times outside his residence back in November 2017. The other suspects, identified as associates of the main defendant, are Miroslav “Rudolf” Balazovjech as the alleged shooter and Josef “Sifis” Josef who allegedly arranged the hit.
Pelekanos asked for documents pertinent to the case, including witness statements, which he reviewed during court recess. When the bail hearing resumed in the early afternoon, he argued that Glykas had pointed investigators to a picture of a different suspect following the shooting incident in 2017.
The attorney said only recently did Glykas accuse Alexoui, adding that the witness never before named the person who ordered the shooting and possibly changed his story after “police threw a bunch of names at him” telling him that Mavromichalis wanted to hurt him.
But the defence attorney cited occasions where Glykas and at least two of the suspects were buddies, saying he would often go out for drinks with Alexoui and also visited Sifis at the hospital and at his mother’s funeral.
“I can understand if an argument is being made that the witness didn’t want to say anything after the attack, but not this,” Pelekanos said.
He also asked to know the identity of a second witness, who appeared to have incriminating evidence according to police investigators, with Pelekanos telling the judge he had doubts that such a witness was even a real person. If such a witness existed, the attorney said, he wondered whether this person had an axe to grind with his client.
“Is it Fanos Hadjigeorgiou?” the defence attorney asked prosecutors.
Prosecutors did not respond.
“With all due respect, we live in a small community and we all know who is Fanos,” he added.
“I ask them again, I want the identity of the individual to be reflected in the record,” Pelekanos insisted.
Police prosecutors replied saying the second witness was a real person and a defendant in three other pending cases.
The attorney also cited hearings from other cases where contradictory statements from witnesses served as a basis for judges to throw out remand requests by police, adding that there could be ulterior motives behind the accusations after a change of allegiances.
The judge then asked the defence to hurry it up, with Rudolf’s attorney asking whether police had solid evidence linking his client to the case.
He also said that initial references about a person running away from the crime scene suggested the shooter was 1.75m tall. The lawyer then asked his client to stand up, telling the court that Rudolf was at best no more than 1.65m.
“If police were to arrest the person in the photo, then what would they do with Glykas? Toss a coin to choose one?” Rudolf’s lawyer asked.
“They should hire Glykas to write novels,” he said, also adding that police had not taken statements from everyone mentioned in the statements.
“This case is a joke,” he added.
The judge did not rule at the end of the bail hearing, with both Alexoui and Rudolf expecting to hear the verdict on Thursday.
According to the Cyprus Constitution, suspects cannot be held in remanded custody over the maximum of eight days unless there are other extenuating circumstances.
If the judge rules the suspects would be released pending trial, Rudolf would automatically head back to prison where he is being held in jail pending another trial.
The judge could also decide to hold Alexoui without bail, which means both suspects would be at Nicosia Central Prisons, while Sifis is currently serving a sentence in a Turkish Cypriot prison in the north.
Alexoui, who had multiple attempts on his life, has been at odds with the police, who have been putting pressure on him and his associates in recent years.