The primary defendant in the Strovolos double murder case says he was feeling pressure after he was picked in a police lineup, but the prosecutor raised serious doubts whether investigators did anything wrong.
During the cross-examination of Loizos Tzionis on Friday, the main suspect in the double murder case, prosecutor Polina Efthyvoulou pushed back on claims by the defence that the defendant had his rights violated during interrogation.
Efthyvoulou went line by line through a number of interactions between Tzionis and three police investigators - Siamoutis, Tomas, and Themistocleous - asking the defendant whether he thought it was out of the ordinary that he was being asked hard questions after he had changed his story twice.
Tzionis admitted that “they were probably doing their job” but one of them was hostile towards.
Tzionis admitted that he was feeling pressure because of his own lies
“Siamoutis was the good cop, Tomas was neutral, but Themistocleous was aggressive towards me,” Tzionis said.
The defendant said he started to feel pressure after he was picked in a police line up by the teenage son of the murdered couple.
“They wouldn’t let me breathe because they were constantly close to me. They had me in cuffs and wouldn’t let me think straight or even when I wanted to have a lawyer they said ‘since you will confess, you don’t need one,’” Tzionis told the court.
The defendant also said that Themistocleous was banging his hand on the table and would also tell him that he knew his father personally.
The prosecutor kept peppering the defendant with questions during the trial within a trial, a special hearing session which was requested by defence attorney Andreas Anastasiou who said his client was not read his rights and was not given proper medical attention.
But Efthyvoulou forced Tzionis to admit that indeed he had been read his full rights, with Tzionis giving short replies, saying “Yes ma’am” to a series of pointed questions, one after the other.
Tzionis was also asked about a gun incident during his interrogation, when Themistocleous made a reference to a pistol inside the office. The defendant said he took that as a threat.
“What are you looking at? Do you want to leave? There’s the gun, right there,” Themistocleous told Tzionis according to the defendant.
Themistocleous testified earlier this week that he did not have a service gun issued to his name.
Tzionis also admitted that he was feeling pressure because of his own lies, with his attorney notifying the court that he would withdraw the pressure claims following his client’s admissions in court.
Anastasiou requested time to review the cross-examination minutes and will address the court on Monday, where it is expected that defence and prosecution will be asked to agree on a narrower scope of the trial within a trial.
The trial within a trial is set to examine whether Tzionis had his rights violated, covering a number of allegations including lack of medical attention following claims he had used cocaine and was feeling unwell during the interrogation.
Anastasiou accused the officers of knowing about his medical and mental state but did not request blood exams on purpose.
The court has ordered Anastasiou not to have contact with Tzionis until Monday.
Efthyvoulou, who was expected to present to court “an incident in Central Prisons, starring the defendant Loizos Tzionis,” did not raise any objection to the recess.