Greek stabbing: “Give Swede a light sentence”

As the trial of Calle Jonsson draws to a close on the island of Rhodes, the prosecutor Georgios Economou pressed for a verdict of guilty of attempted murder. However, he called for a mild punishment and seemed displeased with the testimony of both Jonsson and the victim, Christoforos Serdaris, in the trial.

“I’ve a feeling that neither Christoforos Serdaris nor Calle Jonsson have told the truth to the court. Neither of them have helped us get to the truth in quite a simple case,” he said.

Economou described the incident, on the island of Kos in the summer of 2001, as a fight between two young men and offered mitigating circumstances which would justify a mild sentence for Jonsson in the event of a guilty verdict. Economou reasoned to the court:

“It could have been self-defence. One must take into account the fact that Jonsson was lying under Serdaris.”

Jonsson’s age at the time and the fact that he was a foreigner who couldn’t understand Greek were also grounds for leniency according to Economou.

Two key aspects of the case have been the reliability of Serdaris and his friend who witnessed the incident in their identification of Jonsson and the lack of witnesses summoned to give evidence on Jonsson’s behalf.

Jonsson was on holiday with two friends, who he claims were not with him at the time of the incident. He was returning to his hotel, having gone to another hotel with a young woman.

None of these three people were in court to back up the story. Jonsson claimed that one of his friends is in Australia, the other he’s lost contact with and he has no idea how to get in touch with the woman.

Another potentially key witness not to have appeared on Jonsson’s behalf is a Swedish interpretor from the consulate on Kos. Jonsson claims that police berated Serdaris when he failed to identify him and that the incident was witnessed by the interpretor.

Much has been made of Serdaris’ and his friend’s failure to initially identify Jonsson. In his summing up today, Serdaris’ lawyer, Konstantinis Aslanis, found this easy to explain:

“Is it possible after a two and a half hour operation to be sufficiently clear-headed to identify one’s attacker?” he asked the court.

“He [Serdaris’ witness] had just seen his friend lying in a pool of blood. He was obviously in shock,” maintained Aslanis.

On Wednesday, Jonsson and his parents (who had not travelled with their son to Kos) were questioned at length in the court and the bloodied clothes worn by Jonsson and Serdaris were shown.

Jonsson claimed police had smeared his t-shirt with Serdaris’ blood in a bid to incriminate him. He also claimed he was beaten up by police. He maintained that he sought medical attention on his own initiative for a would he received in the fight and that this was not the behaviour of a guilty man:

“If I was guilty would I have gone to the doctor with such a small wound?” he asked the court.

A verdict is expected later today.