Despite my warm and fuzzy thoughts of yesterday, I wasn't expecting miracles today. Hoping maybe, but not expecting. But not once did I expect that this trial would be postponed, again, this time until 2011.
This happened for several reasons, none of which would ever have flown in a proper court of law. Firstly, the defendant's lawyer claimed she was busy with another case. Which is fine in theory, except it's a case she picked up last week. Knowing full well, of course, what was on her agenda today.
When she asked for the postponement for this reason, our awesome, chain-cigar-smoking lawyer asked for a continuance instead, which meant we would have resumed after the Easter holidays, as I'd expected. The judge said no. And wham, January 2011 it was - for two rapes that happened in 2005.
And a convicted serial rapist strolled out of the courtroom and into downtown Athens.
The thing is, even if neither postponement nor continuance were granted, we still couldn't have gone ahead with the case today. Why? Because an interpreter, required to be present by law, was absent. He missed the last trial, too. (Which got postponed for other, equally stupid reasons.) Legally, he should have been convicted for this. It's a requirement of the court to have an interpreter, and if the one they asked for isn't available, it's their duty to find another one. In other words, the court did their absolute best for this trial not to happen.
Meanwhile, while the interpreter does whatever he does on his days off, this convict - yes, that's me - will remain as such in the eyes of the Greek law. After failing to appear at the July 2007 trial, despite giving an official reason through the Canadian Department of Justice, I was not just fined but CONVICTED. The courts refuse to drop this charge until the end of the trial, which at this rate could be by the time I'm 85 or so.
Needless to say, the other victim and I are devastated. I think I'm still in shock, actually. None of this has computed, because if it had, I think I'd be hiding under a blanket in the dark, rather than writing this. It's survival mode I guess, which may be the same thing that kept me from sporting a sign today while awaiting cousin Tony in a public square, which would have read, "DON'T LOOK AT ME, DON'T TALK TO ME AND GOD HELP YOU DON'T TOUCH ME."
It's hard to accept that most people have no idea what it feels like, being in this city, especially on my own. But I think I'm starting to understand something: why would they? Unless it happened to you, or someone you really care about, you don't know.
But it happened to me. And today, I had to see the disgusting excuse of a man who did it smarming his way around the courtroom as if he owned the place, while his lawyer argued that it was an inconvenience to HER to continue this trial in the next nine months.
I had thought, told myself, that if this wasn't over in a month, it was over for me. But now I know that's not the case. I knew this was bigger than our trial, but I had no idea how much bigger. In the next nine months, we have to do everything possible to make as many people as possible aware of how pathetically the Athenian courts have dealt with this trial. Maybe we should make t-shirts. They could read:
"THE GREEK JUSTICE SYSTEM: THE ULTIMATE OXYMORON."
That's all for now.