Greek Legal System

Chat and items of interest about Crete and Greece.
Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Greek Legal System

Postby Kilkis » Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:46 pm

I have raised this topic in a separate thread because it would be extreme thread drift to reply in the thread where it first occurred. I was a little concerned that the following statement made in that thread could mislead people, perhaps causing concern, regarding the legal system in Greece:

Retired in Crete wrote:...Secondly, remember that Greek justice operates under the Napoleonic system where the prosecution does not have to prove your guilt, the onus is on you to prove your innocence...


I would describe it as a not totally accurate statement.

1 On 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Greece was one of the 48 countries who voted for this declaration. No country voted against it although there were 8 abstentions. Article 11 of this declaration states: "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.".

2 The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe has been adopted by Treaty and is binding on all EU member states, which includes Greece. Article 6.2 of that convention states: "Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law".

3 This myth about guilty until proven innocent does not even apply in France. Article 9 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 1789, (Note the date) which has force as constitutional law, begins: "Any man being presumed innocent until he has been declared guilty ...". The Code of Criminal Procedure states in its preliminary article that "any person suspected or prosecuted is presumed innocent for as long as their guilt has not been established" and the jurors' oath repeats this assertion (article 304).

It is true that the Greek legal courts follow an "inquisitorial system" as implemented by Napoleon rather than the "adversarial system" used in the UK. It also uses a combination of judges and lay jurors to determine guilt rather than a simple juror system as used in the UK. It does not, however mean that you are guilty until proven innocent.

What really happened under the French system of that period was a de facto (in practise) presumption of guilt in that people could be remanded in custody for extended periods without the case being tested. That is replicated today in Guantanamo Bay, for example, so is not unique, and is the reason the myth arises. There has never been a de jure (in law) presumption of guilt in France or Greece and neither is there in France or Greece today.

Warwick

Topdriller
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Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Topdriller » Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:30 pm

We need men who dream of things that never were.

Retired in Crete

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Retired in Crete » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:25 pm

Warwick, you can quote what legislation you like but, as with many things in Greece, that is not always how it works in practice.

I speak from my ongoing personal experience of the criminal court system.

I committed a so called offence in May 2010. I was arrested, fingerprinted and had some of my possessions confiscated. Some months later I was told that the charges were being dropped and no further action would be taken. I immediately asked for my property to be returned to me as they had no justification for keeping it as I had not been convicted of anything. This was refused as “the case has not been decided by a court”.

I was not happy with this situation as the goods confiscated were worth over 1,500 Euros and I asked my lawyer to get my goods returned. His demands were refused on the same basis and the end result was that the police re-instated the charges to give me the chance to get my goods back! I am due in court in March.

In a nutshell, they would not return my property until I am proven innocent. If this is not the same as my being guilty until proven innocent I don’t know what is!

Perhaps I should have hired you as my lawyer!

John
Last edited by Retired in Crete on Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Kilkis » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:33 pm

Topdriller wrote:http://www.greeklawdigest.gr/topics/judicial-system

Jon


The link does not seem work, Jon.

Warwick

Retired in Crete

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Retired in Crete » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:38 pm

It worked for me Warwick.

John

Retired in Crete

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Retired in Crete » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:52 pm

As a separate issue I think that you will find that in the UK all things are allowed unless there is a law banning it.

In Greece it is the opposite, everything is banned unless there is a law permitting it.

This I gathered from newspaper articles regarding the European arrest warrant.

John

Kilkis
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Kilkis » Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:37 pm

Sorry it does work. My usual problem of blocking cookies. I don't mind sites that say they won't work properly if I don't allow their cookies but I really do object to sites that won't load at all if I don't accept them.

I can quite believe that the Greek police are incompetent, John. In fact I would be more surprised if they weren't. The rest of society is so why should they be different. I can quite understand your frustration at the consequences of that incompetence. I can see why you personally regard those consequences as (de facto) effectively making you "guilty until proven innocent". That isn't the same as saying that Greek law (de jure) holds you as "guilty until proven innocent".

Regarding the European Arrest warrant I have noted over many years a prevailing attitude in British people. If a foreign person commits a crime in the UK they are an evil foreign criminal who should suffer the worst punishment possible. If a British person commits a crime abroad they are a poor victim of the iniquitous foreign legal system and we should at least have a petition to demand their immediate release and possibly a collection to aid their defence. It is indisputable that mistakes occur. The case of the Greek plane spotters was a classic example. I am sure that every jurisdiction views foreigners as more likely to be the perpetrators of a crime than there own citizens just like people do in the UK regard foreigners there. On the whole having a warrant that makes it easier to track and arrest the perpetrators of crime across national boundaries I would view as a good thing. If there are problems with it fix the problems. I wonder if the articles that characterised the difference between the UK and Greece as you describe appeared in those epitomes of fair and balanced reporting, the Mail and the Telegraph? I am pretty certain that most of what I do in my everyday life is not explicitly permitted by some Greek law.

Warwick

bobscott
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Location: Kokkino Horio

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby bobscott » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:16 pm

Retired in Crete wrote:It worked for me Warwick.

John

And for me, although I got verbal indigestion reading it.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

bobscott
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Re: Greek Legal System

Postby bobscott » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:22 pm

Kilkis said ' I wonder if the articles that characterised the difference between the UK and Greece as you describe appeared in those epitomes of fair and balanced reporting, the Mail and the Telegraph? '

Ooooooh!

Sarky!

Even though I agree 100%, I do admire the way you hang yourself out to to be shot at Warwick!! Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Retired in Crete

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Retired in Crete » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:29 pm

Kilkis wrote: I can see why you personally regard those consequences as (de facto) effectively making you "guilty until proven innocent". That isn't the same as saying that Greek law (de jure) holds you as "guilty until proven innocent".Warwick


Warwick
I have already said that whatever the laws says it does not always work like that in practice.

The interpretation of the law is left to the police and judges. It is their interpretation and actions which determine how the laws are enacted which affect us, not what it says in a book!

Another simple example: The Greek habit of charging extortionate fees to re-register foreign cars as Greek is totally illegal, as you have previously explained, but the practice continues unabated! Quoting the relevant legislation does not change the fees or the outcome.

Perhaps, as you say, I am just an immigrant and we all know immigrants break the law. I must add that my crime in Crete would not have been a crime in the UK!

As for the European Arrest Warrant, the UK had extradition treaties with most of the world, including Europe, way before the EU introduced this. The problem has always been to find exiled crooks, not extraditing them. In addition a judge had to approve the extradition which offered some protection to the accused and prevented frivolous accusations as well as protecting political refugees. These safeguards have been abolished with the EAW. The European Human Rights legislation has prevented more extraditions/deportations than the EAW will ever facilitate.

Why the constant references to the Mail & Telegraph? You know very well that my preferred reading material is Janet & John books and The Beano.

John

Kilkis
Posts: 11724
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Greek Legal System

Postby Kilkis » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:36 pm

bobscott wrote:...Even though I agree 100%, I do admire the way you hang yourself out to to be shot at Warwick!! Bob.


I'm a big target, Bob, both literally and metaphorically, so they can blast huge chunks off and it makes very little difference. I've never been one for sticking my head above the parapet because I never duck down behind it.

It's all in the best possible taste.

Warwick


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