Kenteris and Thanou case in Greek Penal Court

May 13 2011 | 3:12 PM

The Decision of the Three – Member Misdemeanor Court of Athens, concerning the Greek Olympic Winners - Athletes Konstantinos Kenteris and Aikaterini Thanou, as well as their Trainer Christos Tzekos, was issued in Athens in 10th of May 2011. In this particular case, among the defendants, were the doctors, who provided their services for the athletes’ medical import in the accredited for the Olympic Games of August 2004 Hospital/Center of Accidents (“KAT”). The Counsel of one of the defendant Doctors is the writer of this Comment.
After approximately three months, the Judges of the Three – Member Misdemeanor Court finally ruled that no accident of the athletes had occurred and as a result not only the athletes, but also their trainer and the rest of the defendants were judged guilty according to the Introductory Decision of the Public Prosecutor. In particular, as far as the measurement of the sentence of the Doctors is concerned, the Court acknowledged that they didn’t have “humble reasons” for the performance of the crimes. The athletes have been convicted to 31 months imprisonment and their trainer, Mr. Christos Tzekos to 33 months. A money penalty has also been imposed by the Court. One of the defendant’s doctors, who imported the athletes in the hospital, was charged with a total sentence of 8 months imprisonment for the crimes of false statement, breach of duty and perjury. The other doctor was sentenced to 7 months imprisonment by merging two offences, and all the other doctors were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. The Court suspended all the sentences of the defendants, as they are less than three years, and the suspension of the penalty is permitted. All the defendants submitted an appeal and therefore the trial will be held in the Court of Appeals. After the issuance of the Courts’ minutes, a special legal commentary of this case will be published in the Law Journals “International Sports Law Review Pandektis” and “Lex Sportiva” and it will also be available in the official website of IASL.
The most significant fact is that during the whole procedure of this trial, the Court did not take into account crucial/ essential elements regarding the doctors. In specific, the circumstances under which the doctors performed their duty (e.g. Olympic Games, athletes of high status who are under a training programme and they assert that they are feeling dizzy, pain in several parts of the body) and the fact that they couldn’t know the truth as to the facts taken place, because the athletes arrived in the Center of Accidents (“KAT”) at 12:00 midnight asking for medical treatment, were not a subject of judicial assessment. Worth mentioning that, in this case, it is proved that, according to both medical principles and Greek case law, the doctors were obliged to import the athletes in the hospital for medical treatment. If they had acted in an opposite way, they would have infringed their duty and they would have been held responsible towards Justice.
Nevertheless, the Court, as mentioned above, decided that all the defendants are guilty.
The President of IASL 
Assoc. Professor of the University of Athens
Vice Rector of the University of Central Greece
Advocate, Attorney - at – law 
Dimitrios Panagiotopoulos
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