Cyprus Mail

Thanasis’ family raise objections to witness in court case

Thanasis Nicolaou's parents have always disputed the suicide ruling

Lawyers for Thanasis Nicolaou’s family, the national guardsman who died in 2005, objected to actions by a prosecution witness on Wednesday, saying the attorney-general’s office has for 18 years been trying to cover up his death.

The prosecution had called for Panicos Stavrianos to testify on Wednesday, and it was agreed that he would submit a written statement to the court.

Stavrianos had been the medical examiner back in 2005 and had ruled that Nicolaou’s death was a suicide, which following the exhumation of his remains was declared to be false. The family has always believed he was murdered.

On Wednesday, Stavrianos was set to testify along with his written testimony, but an objection was raised by the family’s lawyers after it emerged that ahead of the hearing, Stavrianos had instead submitted a new written medical report, which was not asked for.

Objecting to the filing of the document, the family’s lawyer Leto Kariolou said: “The attorney-general’s office has been trying for 18 years on Thanasis’ death [to say] that he committed suicide.”

She characterised the new forensic report as the legal services’ attempt to take the court by surprise.

Subsequently, several reasons were mentioned as to why the family believes the report should not be accepted.

The family’s side said this was a “trick by the attorney general’s office” to sidestep the Andreas Marnerides report – he was a UK appointed expert by the attorney-general – in which they noted that there is similar phraseology to Stavrianos’ report.

They also noted that Stavrianos’ initial forensic report was only four pages long and took nine months to prepare, while now he has prepared a 49-page report in just a few days.

“If this report is accepted, we in turn will have to ask for time to prepare a new report that refutes the new forensic report of Stavrianos,” Kariolou said.

Meanwhile, the attorney-general’s representative said they would need time to respond to the objection of the family.

“We are not against the family, on the contrary we are alongside [them] and have accepted every request of the family, from the exhumation onwards,” the representative from the legal service said.

The representative noted that the legal service summoned Stavrianos as a witness and did not assign him to prepare a forensic report.

Judge Doria Varashiotou accepted the request in order to give time to the legal service to prepare its response to the objection and requested that on Friday it has the positions of the attorney general’s office regarding the objection.

Stavrianos will be summoned again at a later stage depending on the course of the decision.

Last week, during questioning, the attorney from the legal service asked anthropologist Eleftheria Charilaou, who examined Thanasis’ bones after the exhumation, for specifics about her forensic archaeological and anthropological report, which had been previously submitted as evidence.

Charilaou confirmed her findings, revealing fractures in Nicolaou’s chest, spine, tibia, scapula and other areas.


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