ATHENS – With no double jeopardy protection in Greece for those acquitted of crimes, a prosecutor appealed a court ruling cleared former Attica Governor Rena Dourou and four others of criminal charges related to the 2017 flood that claimed 25 lives in Mandra, west of the capital.
The former SYRIZA official was accused of dereliction of duty and manslaughter by negligence, among other charges but now she and the others acquitted will have to face trial again, said Kathimerini.
Dourou and the four employees were among 12 defendants who were cleared on June 16 by a three-judge court, including the then mayors of Megara and Elefsina accused of failing to have systems in place to prevent flooding.
Another eight from the same services, as well as Mandra’s former mayor, were found guilty of manslaughter by negligence, but were acquitted of dereliction of duty, given 5- and 4-year suspended sentences, no jail time.
The array of charges included alleged negligence for ignoring violations of building construction codes blamed for the deadly floods that caught 25 victims by surprise in their houses and cars.
In March, 2019, families of the victims also brought suit over the flash flooding made worse by unlawful construction damming up water and trapping victims in cars, rushing waters and even in their homes. They are seeking compensation for mental anguish.
A statement issued at an earlier hearing by the legal office representing three victims – Giorgos Alexiou, Dimitris Goutos and Serafeim Gortzas – said that they had been in a group of 10 people who had gone hunting when they were caught in flash floods.
The causes of the tragedy and role of state officials were outlined in a prosecutor’s report, the statement said, the paper said at the time.
Earlier reports said successive governments had allowed unlawful construction that blocked gullies and blocked water runoff, causing the disaster – which occurred before and were ignored.