Fifteen police officers charged with dereliction of duty in connection with the Mitsero serial murders case have given their reply, president of the independent police complaints authority Andreas Pachalides told CNA on Thursday.
Paschalides said the authority’s criminal investigators were now drawing up the list of witnesses so as to prepare the charge sheet and submit the case to court.
Moreover, the authority will tomorrow examine possible disciplinary offences by the 15 and/or other members of the police force. In such a case they will be referred to the police disciplinary board.
He said the disciplinary board should be chaired by an independent official so as to ensure impartiality and the authority should have the right to appeal. The authority has asked the House of Representatives to amend the law so that it has a say in the procedure, something which has not yet happened, he said.
The attorney general decided in early May to bring charges against 15 members of the police over the way they handled the disappearance of women and children who were later found murdered by Nicos Metaxas.
They face a single count of dereliction of duty under article 134 of the criminal code.
The police officers have not been suspended from duty and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Metaxas is currently serving seven life sentences after pleading guilty to the gruesome murder of five women and two children over a period of two years.
Several of the victims had been reported missing by friends or relatives who said police had failed to properly follow up on their concerns – leaving Metaxas to continue to prey on unsuspecting victims.
Amid a public outcry that at least some of the victims may be alive today had police done their job, a criminal inquiry was ordered.
The inquiry resulted in a 350 page report which reportedly assigned responsibility to a number of police officers of different ranks who handled the complaints.
The probe by the four criminal investigators also reportedly showed tragic mistakes in investigating the complaints of missing women, since in some cases they did not even check whether their mobile phones were in operation while in one case, it took three months from the day the missing person report was filed to when police actually took a statement from their immediate environment.