The trial of the 48-year-old quack doctor, on 12 counts of murder and 14 attempted murders of cancer patients, whom he prescribed medicinal herbs, had to be postponed after the accused declared his ill health.
The Athens court ruled that the main defendant would have to authorize his lawyer to represent him. The trial will resume on 23 November.
The first day of the trial, which involved 16 co-defendants, one of whom was a nun, was devoted to other procedural issues, such as moving the trial to a more spacious place.
In press statements before the court, a self-styled doctor’s cancer patient said he asked him for 17,000 euros for treatment, including vitamins and hallucinogens.
The son of another victim said that the main defendant, who claimed to be a doctor trained in Switzerland, asked for 10-15 thousand euros for his father’s herbal treatment.
The suspect claimed to be a researcher at a Swiss medical center specializing in pediatric surgery and pediatric oncology and a pioneer in new treatments.
A lawyer for families whose minor children died while being treated by a charlatan, stressed that his clients “fully trust Greek justice. They want exemplary punishment for the accused. “
In a 300-page memo submitted to the court, attorney Angelica Curinioti argues that the suspect, who introduced himself to the patients as “Dr. distribution of illegal drugs and misrepresentation by a healthcare professional.
“Dr. Nikos Kontos” met patients with terminal or severe cancer through a network of associates and acquaintances.
Posing as an “experienced herbalist,” although not having a formal medical degree, the suspect pleaded guilty to fraud charges, but denies any intention of committing any wrongdoing.
Following his arrest last year, Kontotanasis apologized to the families of three patients who died after his treatment, but denied encouraging them to replace the treatment they were receiving with quack funds he bought online. Some of these were found to consist of cannabis.
He admitted that he was not a board-certified neurosurgeon or other healthcare professional, as he informed his patients and their families, but said he considered himself an expert in botany and therefore could help patients struggling with serious illnesses.