The main suspect in the Strovolos double murder case is seeking criminal legal aid before the Supreme Court in order to show his human rights have been violated.
Loizos Tzionis is the main suspect in the Strovolos double murder, where 60-year-old Yiorgos Hadjigeorgiou and his 59-year-old wife Dina Sergiou were savagely stabbed to death on 18 April 2018.
Tzionis, who said last year he was framed for the murders, appeared before the Supreme Court on Monday to officially seek a judicial review over his case. The suspect claims that his right to a fair trial and his presumption of innocence have been violated.
Attorney Andreas Anastasiou, who is currently representing the defendant in his criminal trial in Nicosia, was present at the Supreme Court, telling the judges he would like to represent his client as long as legal aid is provided.
The Supreme Court judge asked Tzionis to list the exact reasons why he thinks he may have a basis for a judicial review
But Justice Despo Michaelidou said the attorney could not address the court before the process was completed for legal aid. She added that Anastasiou could not have a say in the matter until after an approval of the request as well as the explicit wishes of the plaintiff.
“You cannot address the court until the request is approved and you are named as the attorney,” Judge Michaelidou said.
The judge also said Tzionis’ request was “undefined” and “vague” and asked the plaintiff to be more specific in his claims. She specifically asked the double murder suspect to list the exact reasons why he considers he may have a basis for a Certiorari, which would force a lower court to forward the proceedings for a review.
The leading state prosecutor in the criminal trial, Polina Efthyvoulou, was also present at the hearing on Friday. She told the judge that Tzionis had filed two similar requests in the past, according to media reports, declining to take a position due to the “non-specificity of the claims.”
Prison incident shrouded in mystery
Tzionis initially made official claims on December 12 that his rights had been violated, with the hearing being adjourned following the state prosecutor describing an incident in prison shrouded in mystery.
Efthyvoulou made references to “an incident in Central Prisons, starring the defendant Loizos Tzionis” with rumours quickly emerging that the defendant was beat up by fellow prisoners.
The presiding judge in the criminal trial had asked Efthyvoulou if she could elaborate on the nature of the incident but she declined, saying she wanted to examine the information herself before she could say anything.
Some reports said the defendant was attacked by another fellow prisoner who injured Tzionis in the face. The assault was said to have been “not unrelated” to the double murder according to allegations made public in local reports.
Two days later Tzionis was peppered with questions during cross-examination, countering his claims he had made about being under pressure while he was being detained and interrogated by cops.
He then admitted to the prosecutor that he was feeling pressure because of his own lies, essentially destroying a line of defence where his attorney sought to claim his client’s rights had been violated.
Plea bargain with ex girlfriend unconfirmed
The criminal trial continues on February 14 at the Nicosia courthouse while the Supreme Court hearing on the cert has been set for February 20.
In addition to Tzionis, three other co-defendants are facing multiple charges, including murder, conspiracy, and burglary. The main suspect, his half brother Lefteris Solomou, and another male, Marios Hadjixenofondos, have all denied all charges.
Tzionis’ ex girlfriend Sara Sians, who is also a co-defendant in the case, had initially pleaded not guilty to all charges but recently her new attorney said his client would like to change her plea on theft conspiracy from not guilty to guilty.
Efthyvoulou, who did not raise any objection with the request, told the court she would speak with the attorney general’s office but it was not clear whether a plea bargain was on the table for Siams.