Miscarriage of Justice

On the Steps of Heraklion Courthouse. Back Row:- Mark’s father-in-law Bill O’Reilly, Mark’s lawyer Leonidas Pegiadis, Translator Victoria Trzeciak. Front Row:- Mark’s mother-in-law Phyl O’Reilly, Katie O’Leary (Irish Innocence Project), Mark’s wife Julie Marku.

In January 2012 Mark Marku, with his younger brother Andreas, was convicted of seven armed robberies that took place in Crete in 2010. His Irish wife Julie Marku and her parents Bill and Phyl O’Reilly believe his trial was a miscarriage of justice because:

1. Mark Marku was in Ireland when three of the seven armed robberies he was convicted for took place, he has alibis, flight records and affidavits that can prove this, but these were disregarded by the prosecution and the judges.

2. The prosecution failed to provide any evidence for 11 of the 16 charges brought against him.

3. At the trial three witnesses claimed to identify Mark Marku by face or body type in three separate robberies, although Mark Marku is 178cm of medium build with no particular or rare physical features and all of the witnesses confirmed the raiders wore masks making it impossible to identify the perpetrators of the robberies by their facial features.

4. A DNA report claiming to have found Mark’s DNA on a pair of rubber gloves was used to convict Mark of a robbery on the 5th of June 2010 (a date he can prove he was in Ireland). Of nearly 100 items tested, the search and seizure report for the glove is the only one that does not exist, so the location, date and time of their discovery cannot be confirmed.

According to Marks lawyer Leonidas Pegiadis the trial was “a trial of purpose, to restore faith in the police and the courts”. On the robbery dates that Mark was in Crete, Pegiadis believes the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mark was involved, in his closing argument at Mark Marku’s trial Pegiadis stated that the evidence that emerged was either unreliable or completely absent.

In an unprecedented move The Irish Innocence Project have joined Mark Marku’s defence team, assisting Pegiadis in verifying the Irish evidence and alibis. They are also sending their American DNA expert, Dr Greg Hampikian, to testify at Mark’s appeal.

David Langwallner, Director of the Irish Innocence Project stated,
“The Irish Innocence Project became involved in Mark’s case over a year ago after being contacted by his wife, Julie. Usually the Innocence Project only gets involved in a case after the final appeal has been heard, but because of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Mark’s conviction we decided to work on the case. Mark’s claim that he was in Ireland and not Greece during the robberies prompted us to search for and obtain evidence to prove that he was in Ireland at those times.We have worked closely
with Mark’s lawyer in Greece to ensure that a strong defense is put forward in his appeal. A colleague of ours from Idaho, renowned DNA expert Dr. Greg Hampikian, has agreed to give expert evidence at Mark’s appeal. We sincerely hope that Mark gets a fair trial in December as it appears that the justice system has failed him in the past.”

Dr. Greg Hampikian, Director of the Idaho Innocence Project & DNA expert is supporting Mark’s legal team’s claim that the DNA report used to convict Mark, for a robbery he can definitively prove he was in Ireland at the time, was unreliable,  There’s no identification of Mark on the glove. There’s no statistical statement which supports the DNA report and there’s no chain of evidence connected to the glove,” said Hampikian, who has also published research on eyewitness identifications. “The lineup was inappropriate because only suspects were put forth. I’m convinced Mark didn’t have a fair trial.”

Mark’s wife Julie describes life since her husband’s arrest “the past three years have been a living nightmare, we’ve had the appeal date moved back four times. Now that the appeal is confirmed for December 4th, we are working to ensure that all the evidence is inplace, and can’t be disregarded. We want to bring Mark home for Christmas. We’d like to thank the Irish Department of Foreign affairs for validating the alibi’s and other paperwork, and we are appreciative of the Irish Innocence Project and Mark’s defense team for bringing their expertise to this miscarriage of justice.”

Bill O’Reilly, Mark Marku’s father-in-law explains “from the day of Mark’s arrest on the 16th September 2010 the case against him has been riddled with inconsistencies, irregularities and procedural shortcomings by both the Cretan police and the prosecution.
We hope people will support his appeal case by calling for and observing that this appeal be heard within the statutes of European Union law (of which Greece and Ireland are both signatories). We need to ensure that the Cretan Appeal Court acknowledges and takes into consideration ALL of the irrefutable evidence brought before it.”

Mark, & his brother, have spent nearly 44 months in prison while Julie and her Irish Parents, Bill & Phyl O’Reilly, have spent their life savings trying to exonerate Mark.

The Campaign is hopeful that with the support of both the Irish and Greek public, Mark Marku’s appeal case can be heard within the statutes of European Union law, of which Greece and Ireland are both signatories.

We just want Mark Marku home.

Mark and Julie, Malandhrino Prison, April 2014.

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