Judges’ heads ‘to roll’

Promising that «heads will roll» where necessary, the head of the Supreme Court yesterday indicted three middle-ranking judges and a prosecutor on disciplinary charges that could lead to their dismissal from the judiciary for alleged corruption. «We are trying to reach the bottom of this case,» Georgios Kapos said. «We will not hesitate before any obstacle and any number of judges who have broken their oath. Heads will roll where that is deemed necessary.» His statements came one day after the government announced plans for a crackdown on corruption in the judiciary through tougher penalties and strict adherence to the system of picking judges by lot. The plenary session of Greece’s highest civil and criminal court is to discuss whether to dismiss three court of first instance judges – Leonidas Stathis, Panayiota Tsevi and Antinia Ilia – and deputy appeals court prosecutor Nikos Athanassopoulos. With the exception of Stathis, who allegedly demanded a bribe to award hefty damages in a traffic accident case, the other three are suspected of involvement in a trial-fixing ring in which a churchman, Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, allegedly played a central part. Another six judges are under scrutiny for involvement in the ring, according to court sources. Most of the cases under scrutiny were handled by Piraeus courts.

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