ATHENS – Trying to deal with a backlog of cases that are years behind, Greece’s notoriously slow judiciary was shed of seven judges who weren’t performing their duties, one said to have not acted on hundreds of them.
That was done in a plenary session of the Supreme Court which dismissed them – no names were given despite the seriousness of the move – because they were deemed inadequate, said Kathimerini.
It was reported that they had delayed issuing vedicts in court trials over which they presided but why they did wasn’t given or clarified, nor which cases they had jammed up.
Eight judges were on the firing line while the high court before the Christmas holidays sacked six others for the same reasons, one said not to have reached any verdicts for 10 years.
Almost all those dismissed had more than 200 pending cases, and some of them were statute-barred, meaning time had run out to issue a verdict but wasn’t indicated if that was done purposely to benefit a defendant or plantiff.
Just because they’re not judges anymore doesn’t mean they won’t continue to stay on the public payroll and some of them demanded, as they are entitled by law, to be transferred to other jobs.
The firings came in the wake of the former Supreme Court President Vassiliki Thanou named in an audio file in which a businesswoman is heard apparently trying to blackmail a former bank chief, seeking bribes for Thanou.
Thanou – who went on to serve under the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – denounced it, but the report on the site iefimerida.gr led the high court prosecutor to look again at a 2016 case in which she said an investigation was then set aside.
Thanou also said she may sue for slander as the incident set off a firestorm in political circles because it involves so many prominent names, including the target of the apparent blackmail, the late businessman Andreas Vgenopoulos, who headed the former Marfin Bank.