Hadjicostis Murder: Defence Questions Witness Sanity
During the hearing today, defense lawyer Robertos Vrahimis told prosecution witness George Zavrantonas that he was a sociopath. Zavrantonas replied that he might accept that comment from a psychologist, but not from the lawyer. Vrahimis quickly responded, saying that the defense would provide the psychologist and prove what kind of character Zavrantonas is, said our correspondent at the scene.
The judges took some time to consider whether to let the defense to bring its own psychologist, but decided not to allow it, saying it is up to the court to determine whether a witness is telling the truth.
Defence team tries to discredit prosecution witness
Zavrantonas, who is serving 12 years for conspiracy to murder, testified that he was approached by one of the defendants - Andreas Gregoriou - to take the 50,000-euro contract killing of SigmaTV chief Andy Hadjicostis. He said he turned it down and that he was not interested in carrying out the murder.
Over the last week, the defence has accused him of having exchanged his testimony for a shorter jail time and of being a lying sociopath.
Four Defendants on Trial for Hadjicostis' Murder
Four people are on trial for Hadjicostis' murder; Tassos Krassopoulis; his sister and ex-Sigma TV presenter Elena Skordelli; Andreas Gregoriou; and Gregoris Xenophontos. All four have pleaded not guilty to the January 11th, 2010 killing in which Hadjicostis was shot twice in the chest as he was getting out of his car to go to his Nicosia home.
The prosecution alleges that Skordelli was angry at Hadjicostis for edging her out of her job as a presenter at Sigma TV, particularly since she is a 21 percent shareholder in the station. She and her brother planned the killing to get rid of Hadjicostis and take over Sigma TV themselves, says the prosecution. The prosecution's case is largely based on a full confession by suspect Fanos Hadjigeorgiou, who has been put in the witness protection programme and will not stand trial. Zavrantonas' testimony backs Hadjigeorgiou's confession.
Skordelli, Krassopoulis, Xenophontos and Gregoriou have been held in jail since the beginning of the trial.