A disgraced former lawyer was convicted for five-and-a-half years yesterday for posing as a doctor to defraud a Patras family out of thousands of euros that would supposedly pay for the treatment of their seriously ill daughter. Not only did Nikos Papaioannou, who has been struck off the Patras Bar Association’s register for past malpractice, take money from the 9-year-old’s parents, the court found, but he also injected the girl with water that he presented as specialized medication. The girl suffered from cerebellitis, an inflammation of the rear section of the brain that can cause severe movement disorders. Two weeks ago, Papaioannou introduced himself to the girl’s parents as a France-based physician who could cure the child with the help of a French colleague. On this pretext, he took 4,500 euros from the family. Papaioannou also persuaded the girl’s parents to stop the medication recommended by Patras hospital doctors, and gave her what he said was special medicine from Italy – which laboratory tests showed to be plain water.