All rise

As predicted, we turned up at 9am and were directed to a courtroom. (If you need to know why, start here.)

We were told to return at 1030 and went for a coffee.

As I carried our purchases towards the terrace, I was nearly knocked over by Margaret coming the other way.

“He’s here.” She trembled.

I guided her to an internal table, and tried to find something reassuring to say. Our question as to whether the defendant would attend had been answered.

We sat through a case, a sentencing, we think, ending with the defendant leaving with two policemen. One of those policemen had through gestures, advised me that I should not be leaving my reading spectacles on top of my head. Margaret had recovered from the shock and was convinced that the defendant in our case had not recognised her.

Eventually, a prosecutor checked that Margaret was, in fact, Margaret. This established, she spoke with the opposing counsel, before returning to us.

“The defence will ask for an adjournment.”

“Right…”

“I will write for you the new date.”

The Process

It turned out that after a recess, we had to wait for this arrangement to be confirmed by the judge. As the judge came in, everybody stood, reminding me of UK court dramas, were the clerk always intoned “All rise” as the judge entered and left the court.

We watched as our nemesis was led to the dock. Call me nasty, but I delighted in his discomfort. I caught one in ten words from the judge, I think he was summarising the charge. The prosecutor rose, and replied in quick fire Greek. The words that I caught, were Margaret’s name and the name and rank of the investigating police officer.

Margaret was asked to stand, immediately drawing the attention of the man in the dock.

Having established that she spoke no Greek, the judge swore in an interpreter to translate his explanation to her. He explained that due to the weight of ongoing cases and because the defence wanted more time, he was adjourning until the 7th of April and that there would be no further summons.

Gratefully, we left. Seconds ahead of the person being prosecuted.

Next Stage

I guess that’s how it works. This is a criminal prosecution, not a civil one. Margaret is a witness not a plaintiff. No justice system anywhere could afford to keep everybody apart, I suppose. Still, it felt a little awkward.

As for your brave correspondent, I worked very hard to avoid eye contact. My focus is Margaret and I’m not sure that macho posturing would be much help to her.

So, as I wrote, the wheels of justice turn slowly and the next instalment will come in April 2020, when again, we will “all rise”.

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