OPINION

The usual suspect?

All those who were absolutely certain that Avraam Lesperoglou would be found guilty (their certainty being, no doubt, based on their desire for such a verdict) reacted to a court decision to exonerate the alleged terrorist – by a four-to-three majority – by stressing that it was narrow and by criticizing the appointed jurors. Moreover, for weeks they had been presaging the conviction of «the usual suspect» across the media with barely concealed malice, systematically exercising the mental violence they inflict on all alleged supporters of terrorism. In the eyes of justice (which we can’t regard as independent only when its verdicts suit us), «four votes to three» means the defendant is innocent – not four parts innocent and three parts guilty. Wasn’t Andreas Papandreou cleared with the same ratio of yes and no votes in a 1992 court decision that was never contested and left him unblemished? There is another objection to the appointed jury – an institution that many want to abolish, although it continues to flourish in many countries where its own critics promote it as a paragon; that the jurors are easily influenced by public sentiment which affects their judgement. Fair enough. But has anyone heard a good word spoken about Lesperoglou in a month of TV debates? Or was the overall feeling in the media that the defendant’s prior exoneration only proved his guilt?