A Greek woman found guilty, in Greece, of defaming former state Labor minister Theo Theophanous after accusing him of rape will appeal the judgment, The Age reports.
A Greek court official confirmed that the woman, who claimed Mr Theophanous sexually assaulted her in his Parliament House office in 1998, requested that the case be heard before the appellate court four days after she received a two year jail sentence by a junior court in Athens.
”She had 10 days to appeal the sentence and she chose to do so on October 29,” court clerk Dimitra Yiannopoulou, told The Age, adding ”this means that proceedings are not over.”
Mr Theophanous pursued the woman through the Greek justice system after the charge of rape was dismissed in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last year.
A former Melbourne resident, the woman relocated to Greece after the alleged assault. Although her name has been released in Greece, she cannot be identified in Australia.
Mr Theophanous, who flew to Greece to attend the defamation hearing, said he was motivated by justice not revenge.
In documents sighted by The Age, the sixth Court of First Instance, presided over by Judge Gerasimos Vrionis, concluded that the woman, who did not appear for the trial, was guilty of defamation. Judge Vrionis said that, made anonymously, the woman’s claims of rape were subsequently posted on the internet, damaging Mr Theophanous’s political career and causing ”two years of trauma” for his family.
In addition to the prison sentence, which was suspended for three years, the three-member Greek tribunal ordered that the woman pay court fees.
Officials say it is unlikely that her attempts to clear her name will end soon. Chief secretary at the Court of First Instance in Athens, Panayiotis Tzanetopoulos, told The Age that it would probably be ”a year or so” before the case was heard.