Government spokesman Stelios Petsas on Tuesday evening said that the new penal code which was "hurriedly" legislated by SYRIZA right before the recent national elections is to blame for both a lenient sentence and an early release of policeman Epaminondas Korkoneas from jail on Tuesday, who fatally shot a teenage boy while on duty in 2008.
"The reasons leading to Korkoneas' release are two," noted spokesman Petsas, "the first is a shift in the legal parameters that define the mitigating circumstance of a clear criminal record, which can be used favorably even in cases of extreme crimes," said Petsas.
"The second factor is the change in the maximum penalty that can be imposed after the mitigating circumstance is recognized, which is now reduced from 20 to 15 years," he noted.
"It is true that the new Penal Code and the new Criminal Procedure Code are all in the right direction. However, there are shortcomings in some of its provisions that are already being considered by the New Democracy government for amendment," he highlighted.
Petsas concluded by saying that minor amendments in the penal code will "help avoid similar (judicial/legal) incidents that are obviously incompatible with the public's sense of common justice."
Korkoneas, the policeman who shot 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos in 2008, was found unanimously guilty of premeditated murder by a Court of Appeal in the city of Lamia on Monday, and received a 13-years sentence.
The Lamia court kept the first instance guilty verdict concerning Korkoneas, but ruled that Vasileios Saraliotis, who was on patrol with Korkoneas during the 2008 incident, is unanimously innocent, on the grounds of his prior lawful record.
The December 6, 2008 shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos let to the so-called Athens riots, when youths clashed with police for nearly a month after the tragic incident.