New Appellate Trial for Mati Fire Set for July 8

Matifeature

The appellate-level trial for the devastating 2018 Mati wildfire is scheduled to begin on July 8, 2024, as decided by a Three-Member Appeals Court. This trial will re-examine all first-instance court rulings, including both sentences and acquittals, except for the individual who actually started the fire.

The public prosecutors' office has lodged an appeal, prompting a retrial for all accused individuals, including local authority officials and fire brigade officers previously acquitted by the lower court. The appellate court will also reassess the sentences of the five fire brigade officers found guilty in the initial trial, who had their sentences converted to cash fines allowing them to avoid imprisonment.

The urgency in setting the appellate trial date stems from the risk of the offences becoming statute-barred. An irrevocable ruling by the Supreme Court must be issued by 2026.

The charges include 102 counts of homicide through negligence and 32 counts of bodily harm through negligence. The public prosecutors' appeal does not include the Penteli resident convicted of starting the fire, who received a three-year prison sentence and has appealed for a sentence reduction.

The appellate court will effectively retry the case, determining if the lower court's acquittals of 15 individuals were justified and if the sentencing was appropriate. Notable defendants include senior fire brigade and police officers, former general secretary for civil protection Ioannis Kapakis, former Attica Region governor Rena Dourou, and the mayors of Marathonas and Penteli at the time.

(Source: Amna)

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