Former fire chief opens cycle of defendants’ testimonies at trial for Mati tragedy
Πηγή Φωτογραφίας: brief.com.cy
The misdemeanors court investigating the 2018 tragedy at Mati, eastern Attica, began examining the 21 defendants charged in the case on Friday, after the examination of witnesses concluded. The trial began a year ago, in 2022.
A total of 104 people died at the fire or as a result of it and 164 injured after a wildfire spread through the densely populated coastal town of Mati. The court case began after a report was released in 2019 pointing out operational mistakes of the then government. Charges were read to officials including then regional governor of Attica Rena Dourou, who was present at Friday’s proceedings.
The cycle of defendants’ testimony began with then Fire Brigade chief Sotiris Terzoudis, who attacked the findings of fire captain Dimitris Lotsios, appointed by the public prosecutor’s office to determine the causes of the tragedy. Lotsios has testified on his findings in ten consecutive court sessions, and Terzoudis refuted his testimony that it was ‘a normal day’. Terzoudis also attacked fellow defendant Vassilis Mattheopoulos, then second in command at the Fire Brigade, using strong language to question whether Mattheopoulos had carried out his job obligations properly on the day of the fire.
Terzoudis’ testimony will continue after the abstention of lawyers next week who are protesting new tax measures. The head judge of the court however asked lawyers to request special permission of their bar association to continue the trial sooner.