NEWS

Fired judges toll rises to seven

A judge thought to be at the center of a trial-fixing ring, whose discovery has rocked the judiciary recently, and one of her colleagues yesterday became the sixth and seventh officials to be sacked by the Supreme Court in the past few weeks. Court of first instance judge Antonia Ilia, whose appeal for a postponement was turned down, was fired for lack of moral standards and gross inefficiency. The court ruled that she could not take another job in the public sector. The Supreme Court described her as «totally useless» and said she allowed her trustworthiness to be questioned. Her lawyer said that she might appeal her case at the European Court. Panayiota Tsevi, also a middle-ranking judge, was unanimously dismissed by the 52 members of the Supreme Court for the same offenses. She said her poor performance had been due to family problems. Ilia has yet to face eight charges, some of which are criminal, after allegations she was very active in the trial-fixing ring. Tsevi has also been charged with being part of the ring. The latter is also facing criminal charges for not submitting a declaration of assets (pothen eshes). Another 13 people – seven judges, three lawyers, a court clerk, a priest and a doctor – were also charged at the beginning of the month by an Athens prosecutor for offenses including bribery and money laundering in connection with the group, which is alleged to have accepted bribes to help secure early prison releases for drug dealers. Ilia is alleged to have had close ties to Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, a priest who is thought to have acted as a middleman in the trial-fixing ring. Both deny the charges. More than a dozen other judges are up for dismissal by the Supreme Court.