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Society

Classmates Face Trial in Bullying Suicide of Greek College Student

April 8, 2019

IOANNINA – Nine former students Dairy School of the University of Ioannina were to face trial April 8 on charges of  causing grievous bodily harm to classmate Vangelis Giakoumakis, a 20-year-old who committed suicide at the school in 2015.

They are accused of frequently and violently bullying Giakoumakis for several months leading up to his death, which has been attributed to the mental and physical abuse to which he was subjected before killing himself.

Several videos and eye-witness accounts allegedly documenting numerous incidents of extreme abuse have emerged since his body was found near his dormitory on March 15, 2015, over a month after he had been reported missing by his parents.

The trial had been scheduled to start in February but was postponed after most of the witnesses wouldn’t show up and they weren’t forced to appear.

According to reports, prosecutors are still investigating whether manslaughter charges can be brought against the nine suspects, five of whom were minors at the time of the incident.

In December, 2018, the farming school former director received a suspended sentence after being found guilty of negligence in the bullying suicide and didn’t have to serve any jail time. The court though acquitted former minister Christos Markoyannakis, a New Democracy deputy, who stood accused of trying to protect the student who allegedly bullied Giakoumakis, Kathimerini said.

The former director was accused of failing to react to reports that Giakoumakis was being victimized by fellow students at the school and that the abuse led him to commit suicide.

A prosecutor had recommended the acquittal of all three defendants. The former school director’s lawyer said his client would appeal the suspended sentence despite its leniency.

In 2016, information from the case file suggested that politicians intervened to protect a group of Cretan students for allegedly bullying the 20-year-old.

Staff at the school in northwestern Greece claimed in their testimony that disciplinary action against the Cretans was halted after the institution’s director was pressured into letting them off, the newspaper said at the time.

His body was found 37 days after he went missing. Although a post-mortem indicated that he killed himself, seven fellow students were charged with bringing about his death.

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