The head of the Irish Innocence Project has said he is shocked and troubled by the handling of a case involving the husband of an Irishwoman who is jailed in Greece after his appeal was postponed for reasons described as “absurd”.
Mark Marku, 28, the Albanian-born husband of Julie Marku, nee O’Reilly, from Co Carlow, was jailed for 18 years last year for armed robberies and car thefts that independently- verified evidence shows he could not have committed as he was in Ireland when many of them took place.
His appeal hearing was due to begin yesterday, but was adjourned to May 7 next year after the prosecution said the defence did not have a piece of evidence they had been seeking.
The evidence related to a Greek expert who was due to verify passport stamps for Mr Marku’s travel between Greece and Ireland.
However, the defence had affidavits from Aer Lingus showing proof of travel — and evidence of Mr Marku’s time in Ireland — and was happy to proceed without the additional evidence.
David Langwallner, Irish Innocence Project (IIP) director, who has had a team of case workers helping gather evidence for the defence, said: “If the defence was prepared to omit material evidence, why did the prosecution and judge insist they have it? It seems to be an absolutely absurd argument for an adjournment.
“I am also shocked at the extent of the adjournment.
“I am also troubled by what seems to have been the tactics of the Greek police.”
Three IIP case workers were in court with Greg Hampikian, a US Innocence Project DNA expert, who was due to give evidence.
Police tore pages from his notebook after they saw him sketching. Case workers said Ms Marku was “harrassed” by police during the hearing. Her parents Bill and Phyl O’Reilly said: “They seem to think if they keep putting this off, we’ll all just go away but we’ll keep coming back for Mark.”
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