NEWS

Lawyers step into the limelight in 2003

The upcoming trial of the alleged members of November 17 naturally brings to mind the faces of the 18 defendants – but it is not they who will dominate the specially adapted courtroom at Korydallos Prison. The leading role will go to the 75 lawyers arguing for or against the charges. If there were competitions to find the best lawyer, this trial would be the championship. Kathimerini looked at the people concerned – not those on trial, who have already been in the spotlight – but the numerous lawyers involved in the case. For senior, highly experienced attorneys, this trial will be yet another feather in their caps, and for younger ones it is a chance to show their skills and perhaps improve their professional standing. All of them will become part of our everyday life. From that point of view, this is the year of the lawyers. That is the bright side of the story. The other side entails long working days, hours spent studying briefs, daily visits to Korydallos, anxiety and deadlines. Many of the attorneys have handed other cases over to colleagues in view of this particular trial. So, who are the leading lights? In general, those appearing for the prosecution are mainly right-wingers and conservatives, and the defense attorneys are left-wing or left-leaning. The majority are men, with probably just two women appearing – Gianna Kourtovic, defending Dimitris Koufodinas and Angeliki Sotiropoulou, and Rania Karabliani, defending Theologos Psaradellis. The prosecution will include Alexandros Lykourezos, on behalf of the Athanassiadis family, and Vardis Vardinoyiannis; Giorgos Mavros, representing the family of Pandelis Petrou, Sakis Kechayioglou, representing Giorgos Petsos, Constantinos Kapelakis (representing the Stamoulis family) and Ioannis Ioannidis for the Bakoyiannis, Vardinoyiannis, Vranopoulos, Momferatos, Peratikos and Roussetis families. They will back up the prosecution case against the 18 defendants, which will probably be easier than the task of the defending counsel. Spyros Fytrakis, defending Yiannis Serifis, is considered to be the expert in such trials, having represented other defendants, such as Avraam Lesperoglou and Giorgos Balafas, on similar charges. Ioannis Rachiotis, who also defended Lesperoglou, is representing Alexandros Yotopoulos. Some observers see parallels between the style of the latter defendant and his attorney, both being severe, abrupt, dynamic and somewhat aloof. Before taking on the defense of Koufodinas and Sotiropoulou, Gianna Kourtovic specialized in civil law. Ioannis Stamoulis (representing Iraklis Kostaris, Costas Karatsolis and Pavlos Serifis) has handled major cases, including the war reparations claim against Germany and the case arising from a 1999 accident involving a government-owned Falcon aircraft in which then-Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Kranidiotis died. The Xeros brothers chose Giorgos Aghiostratitis, an experienced attorney, who is expected to have a particularly difficult task. Patroklis Tselentis is represented by Aristidis Economidis (who has been vice president of the Athens Bar Association) and Thanassis Papayiannis, while Nikos Papanastasiou is being represented by Panayiotis Roumeliotis. Marios Dalianis is acting on behalf of Sotiris Kondylis. Among the younger attorneys are Rania Karabliani and Dimitris Zotos (for Psaradellis), Nikos Protekdikos (for Costas Telios), Vassilis Papastergiou (for Dionysis Georgiadis), Costas Papadakis (for Vassilis Tzortzatos) and Yiannis Zoulas (for Thomas Serifis).