Photo row disrupts Turkey murder trial

March 25, 2013

by Christine Keighery

The trial of the father and son duo accused of killing County Down women Marion Graham and Cathy Dinsmore almost two years ago, was temporarily halted last Wednesday when the honorary consul for the Irish government was found taking photos with his mobile.

Best friends Marian Graham, from Newry, and Cathy Dinsmore, from Warrenpoint, were stabbed to death in a forest on the outskirts of the Turkish city of Izmir, in August 2011.

Recep Cetin, 22, and his father Eyup are being tried for the murders in a series of hearings being held over a number of months in Izmir. Recep was the boyfriend of Marion Graham’s daughter, Shannon, at the time of the killings.

In a dramatic turn of events, judges ordered a lockdown of the courtroom after the honorary consul, Bulent Akgerman, who was there so that victims’ families could be kept informed of developments, was discovered to be taking photos during proceedings.  Mr Akgerman apologised to the court claiming he was unaware that it was forbidden to take photos at the hearing. His mobile phone was confiscated and pictures of the trial were deleted.

Once the case resumed, the judges heard details of a survey of the crime scene that was carried out last week with a secret witness present. They rejected the defendants’ appeal for a new survey of the crime scene because lawyers for the accused were not invited to be present during the survey.

The defence’s request for a further bone marrow test to verify Eyup Cetin’s age was also rejected.  A previous test had shown him to be in his early twenties and not seventeen, as he had initially claimed.

The judges also requested a report based on mobile phone signals that could verify the secret witness’s movements.

According to Baris Kaska, the lawyer representing the victims’ families, the witness’s evidence is significant as it supports the prosecution case that the murders could not have been carried out by one person acting alone.

The court also ruled that Recep and Eyup Cetin should remain in custody until the next hearing to be held on 15th May.