Skalkos cleared over plumber row

first_imgGreek Australian publisher, Theo Slalkos, has been cleared on a charge of assaulting a plumber by pointing a loaded shotgun at him when the workman demanded payment. Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge found in Waverley Local Court on Thursday that Theo Skalkos “probably” did assault James Hasapis, but it had not been established beyond reasonable doubt. Ms Milledge said that, because Mr Skalkos was “a person of otherwise excellent good character”, she could not be satisfied he had committed the offence, although aspects of the evidence concerned her. Mr Skalkos, 80 – whose company, FL Press Pty Ltd publishes the Greek Herald and several other ethnic newspapers and magazines – was charged with assault following a complaint from Mr Hasapis. Police conducted a search of Mr Skalkos’s offices and home in Ricketty Street, Mascot, on December 20 last year, a day after the alleged incident, and found an unsecured double-barrelled shotgun and ammunition. Mr Skalkos pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to keep the shotgun and ammunition secure, but not guilty to assault. Mr Hasapis said he had undertaken a major plumbing job for Mr Skalkos for a total of $25,600 plus GST. But after about two years, Mr Skalkos had paid him only two lots of $2000. He had presented Mr Skalkos with an invoice for $10,400 a year ago for a progress payment. Mr Skalkos ripped it up and threw it in his face and said: “Don’t give it to me now.” “I kept coming back and he kept brushing me off,” Mr Hasapis said. “He said, ‘If you come back I will cut your legs off.”‘ He went to Mr Skalkos’s premises on December 19 last year and, finding him in bed, called to him. Mr Skalkos had said: “You want your f—ing money?” When Mr Hasapis asked him to go downstairs and write out a cheque, they had both got into a lift. At the first floor, Mr Skalkos told him to wait and then produced the shotgun, loaded it and had said: “Don’t you f—ing come here again.” Mr Hasapis went to the ground floor and Mr Skalkos, following him but no longer armed, said: “Get out of here.” Mr Skalkos, in answer to his counsel, Archie Hallas, denied he had produced a shotgun or pointed one at Mr Hasapis, and suggested Mr Hasapis take his claim to court. He said he had an arrangement with Mr Hasapis by which Mr Skalkos would pay for materials but, in return for labour, would give him free advertising. Mr Skalkos had not received an invoice of $10,400. He had not threatened to cut off Mr Hasapis’s legs and had not gone downstairs and threatened him. Ahmed Zeini, who was doing tiling, said he had seen Mr Skalkos and Mr Hasapis arguing on the ground floor. Mr Skalkos was telling Mr Hasapis to get out and Mr Hasapis had been yelling. He had told Mr Hasapis that if he was owed money, he should go to court. He had not seen a shotgun and could not remember whether Mr Hasapis had told him he had been threatened by one. Ms Milledge, discharging Mr Skalkos on the assault charge, convicted and fined him $1200 with $81 court costs on the firearms charge. She recommended that his firearms licence be cancelled if it had not already been, and recommended that he be considered unfit to hold any future licence. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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