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Thanasis case has taken ‘too long’ judge says, rejecting AG request

thanasis nicolaou whose body was discovered in a ditch in 2005
Thanais Nicolaou, whose body was found in a ditch in 2005. His mother has always claimed he was murdered

The attorney-general’s (AG) request to add in a new witness in the inquest over the death of national guardsman Thanasis Nicolaou was rejected in court on Friday, with the judge stressing 18 years have been too long keep dragging the case on even more.

Judge Doria Varoshiotou highlighted the AG’s move seeking to add forensic pathologist Andreas Marnerides to the witness lineup while the proceedings are ongoing could not be accepted, because this would mean it was effectively reopening the case.

The court does not have such powers, she added.

According to Varoshiotou, if the court were to accept the AG’s request, this would mean a new expert could appear in court at any time to comment on previous reports.

“The case would drag on forever, and as a result, the death inquest would be ineffective.”

As such, Marnerides’ findings will not be presented in court, and the request for him to examine Nicolaou’s remains was rejected.

During Wednesday’s court hearing, the state prosecutor said the AG had appointed Marnerides as an independent expert, as the findings of pathologists have clashed.

Prosecution sought to have him testify in court, with the judge questioning how Marnerides managed to read through the extensive material in a matter of a few days.

The hearing got heated after the prosecutor said she sensed hostility from the court.

Addressing the matter on Friday, Varoshiotou said “this is because I am demonstrating diligence in conducting this death inquest, even giving it priority over other cases.”

The scheduling of cases is the exclusive task of the court in collaboration with lawyers, and cases should be processed within a reasonable time, she stressed,

This case has been pending for 18 years, an unprecedented amount of time, Varoshiotou added. The seriousness of the case should not be overlooked, and all parties involved should seek the proper and speedy proceedings of the particular inquest, she underlined.

Forensic pathologist Panicos Stavrianos will be taking the stand as a witness on Monday at Limassol court. The hearing will continue December 14, 20 and 22.

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