NEWS

Three judges kicked out

The plenary session of Greece’s highest civil and criminal court yesterday dismissed three middle-ranking judges for displaying a «lack of moral standards» and gross inefficiency. None of the three – Court of First Instance presidents Fotini Keladidou and Leonidas Stathis, and Court of First Instance judge Constantinos Barberis – are among the members of the judiciary facing the prospect of dismissal for alleged participation in a trial-fixing ring made up of judges, lawyers and churchmen. Some 15 judges are up for dismissal before the Supreme Court, while several of these face trial for criminal offenses that include bribery and money laundering. The court’s 52 members yesterday adopted a new interpretation of disciplinary rules on what renders a judge unfit for service, dismissing Keladidou and Stathis for their «lack of moral standards.» According to the Supreme Court decision, neither former court president can work in the future as a lawyer or be employed in the civil service. Keladidou was sacked for failing to ask to be excused from trying acquaintances of hers in the dock for serious offenses, such as drugs, cigarette and fuel smuggling, as well as money laundering. She also fell foul of a law banning judges from gambling in casinos. Stathis was judged guilty of having taken bribes to issue favorable decisions, seeking to get his wife off the hook for issuing dud checks and social security fraud – he claimed to have built his house single-handedly to avoid paying workmen’s IKA contributions. He was also faulted for habitual laziness. Stathis already faces criminal charges of bribery and money laundering. Barberis was drummed out for delaying rulings for up to two years on 219 cases and appropriating 140 case files which he has still not returned.