A British mother and her two sons were given jail sentences yesterday, less than four days after they were arrested for allegedly attacking an Athens shopkeeper.
During a four-hour hearing at Athens criminal court the main prosecution evidence was read, with no opportunity for cross-examination. Police statements were contradictory and the British defendants had only five minutes each to state their case.
The family believes it has been the victim of a Greek backlash against the drunken and lewd behaviour of young British holidaymakers on the islands of Rhodes and Corfu.
We are being made scapegoats for the antics of hooligans on some of the islands. There have been despicable occurrences on the islands, but we are not that type of people.
No forensic evidence was presented, although it had been stated that Mr Karamichalous was bleeding heavily after the brothers kicked him.
The metal bar referred to both by the Britons and Mr Karamichalous was not recovered from the scene. Although the Johnsons had been locked up since the early hours of Sunday, officers did not take a statement from any of them.
Their only opportunity to give their side of the story was when each took the stand for about five minutes.
Regardless of the facts of the case, of which I have no detailed knowledge, the speed and manner in which the family of Britons living in Greece were sentenced smacks of political and nationalist gestures. Their prosecution is seen as backlash against the loutish behaviour of British tourists on Greece’s holiday islands. The case has made headline news in Greece where the Johnsons’ story has been illustrated with photographs and footage of British tourists misbehaving on the islands of Rhodes and Corfu.
Blimey! The Greek legal system makes the British courts seem like the pinnacle of civilisation.