An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Billy Liar

Mr Phrazer, you have come to this court for justice, is that correct?


How did you get here today Mr Phrazer? Did you come by car?


And did you come along the National Road?

Yes - I did.

Mr Phrazer, do you know how the court system is funded in Greece? And the National road system?

No, I don't think I do.

Well, Mr Phrazer, it should not come as a great surprise that both systems are funded by taxes - the taxes that we all pay.

No, I'm not surprised.

When did you last make a tax return that reflected all of your earnings for the year Mr Phrazer?

And when you had all of this work done on the house in question, were all the taxes paid on those works? The IKA? The VAT?

I think so, yes.

The people that you employed were all tradesmen, who, to the best of your knowledge, were paying their taxes and IKA? Is that so?

I think so yes.

And how many tradesmen would that have been Mr Phrazer?

I don't recall.

Wasn't it just the one in fact? And him not actually a tradesman at all? Just a friend of yours? One Mr Joseph K, who does not, from his tax return, appear to have declared any of the 50 euros a day that you paid him for the work.

No, we had a carpenter too!

You work here in Crete Mr Phrazer. You have worked here most of the 5 years you have been here - building work, metal work - isn't that so? Do you not currently work 3 days every week for a man in Kournas?

I help him out - that's all.

And you do not get paid for that?

No, I just help him out.

So when you told Mr Pees and Ms Lionheart that you got "40 euros a day - cash in hand", you were lying then?

I never said that.

I think, Mr Phrazer that you knew the Mr Joseph K was not paying taxes. I think that you are not paying taxes. I think that you believe, as you once told Mr Pees that "people who pay all their taxes are stupid". But I think it goes further than mere tax evasion Mr Phrazer. I understand that you and your wife are under investigation in the UK for conspiracy to defraud her pensions fund - that you tried, without success, to get Mr Pees involved in this fraud.

No, that's not true.

I will bring witnesses to prove that it is true Mr Phrazer, be careful - you are under oath. Let me sum up then, you came here today on roads that you do not pay for: you come to a justice system that you will not pay for - to ask us to award you a house and land that you have not paid Mr Nicholas for. This seems to be something of a habit with you, Mr Phrazer, this "something for nothing" approach to life - that, and your cavalier attitude to the truth.

You knew that Mr Nicholas could not and was not selling you the land didn't you? You knew that the land was rented out for at least 5 years to Ms Lionheart. You also knew that he was not selling you the entire house, but just the top two floors and that is we\hy you signed the private contract with him on that basis. You knew exactly what you were paying for Mr Phrazer - did you not?

I was confused, no , I didn't know.

Was it not your original intention to rent the top two floors of Mr Nicholas's house? Is that not, in point of fact, the basis on which Ms Lionheart approached Mr Nicholas on your behalf? A long term rental for the rest of your lives for a single up-front payment? That is what I have witnesses to.


I will bring testimony to that effect and to the fact that you later changed your mind and decided that you wanted to buy those same two floors: that rather than approach Mr Nikolorakis and tell him about your change of mind you once more asked Ms Lionheart to be your go-between. Is that not so?


So, Ms Lionheart didn't intercede for you at any point? So the initial meetings to discuss the rental or sale of those two floors were not held in Ms Lionheart and Mr Pees's house? And in their presence?


I have a different set of information Mr Phrazer. My understanding is that Ms Lionheart served very much as the go-between in these matters until such time as she became unhappy with your conduct in the proceedings. And the reason that Ms Lionheart and Mr Pees were involved was partly because they wanted to help you, as friends, and partly because Mr Nicholas refused to rent or sell to you unless she, Ms Lionheart, was happy with the agreement. Isn't that so? Wasn't the whole basis of the agreement that you and Mrs Phrazer would become members of a kind of community there in Felia sharing the land and the work on it? Junior members but members nonetheless? That you would be allowed much more than you had paid for on this understanding of a communality? Mr Phrazer?


I suggest that this was the only way that you would have been allowed to participate in Felia at all. It was after all, and you were told this many times, a shared dream between Ms Lionheart, Mr Pees and Mr Nikolorakis that you were attempting to join. And now Mr Phrazer, I put it to you that this is where the deception began: but it was not Mr Nicholas who was deceiving you: rather it was the case that you and Mrs Phrazer engaged in a deception of Ms Lionheart and Mr Pees and finally Mr Nicholas. You readily agreed to the terms of community that were outlined at these first few meetings: that all changes would be jointly agreed; that any building works would be jointly agreed, that electricity and water would be shared; in short that you would join this community. You agreed to all of this but without any intention of ever making good on your promises. Is that not the case Mr Phrazer?


There are echoes here of the fraud that you are accused of perpetrating on your wife's pension fund, I think. In that case you allegedly began signing important legal documents instead of her some years ago so that if she dies before you you will be able to continue signing them and thus pretend that she is still alive and entitled to a full pension rather than the half share that you as a widowed spouse would legally be entitled to. Another long term fraud carefully conceived. However, in the case of the Felia fraud you became impatient very quickly. Your wife did not like the idea of anyone controlling what she did with what she considered to be her property. You also came up against a problem when you employed Mr Joseph K who was, at the time, also a friend to Ms Lionheart and Mr Pees. Didn't you Mr Phrazer?


When Mr Pees came to remonstrate with you over the works you were carrying out prior to moving in he discovered that you had not in fact told Mr Joseph K the real nature of your agreement didn't he? He discovered that you had led Mr Joseph K to believe that you had a simple purchase agreement, didn't he? You told Ms Lionheart that you couldn't tell Mr Joseph K "the truth" because he would think you "stupid" isn't that true Mr Phrazer? Just as your American friend Keith had dubbed you stupid when you discussed with him the lifetime rental that you had been planning to arrange in the first place?

No, it wasn't like that.

And, since you would not tell Mr Joseph K the true nature of your agreement he and Mr Pees fell out to the point where Mr Joseph K no longer speaks to Mr Pees - to this day - isn't that so Mr Phrazer?

They don't speak but that's not the reason.

So what IS the reason Mr Phrazer? Or rather, what was the reason?

Mr Pees was being unreasonable and he swore at Aris - Mr Joseph K - that's what it was about.

So, you are asking us to believe that a friendship of several years: one that pre-dated your friendship with Mr Joseph K by some years, was thrown away because Mr Pees swore at him? As I have it, Mr Pees and Ms Lionheart were allowing you to use electricity from their house - and water from their house, while you were working on your own house. And they were being unreasonable? How so? Do tell us.

They complained about us working late into the evening with power tools.

And did they cut off your access to their electricity and water? Did they remove their electricity to stop you and Mr Joseph K using your power tools? No, they did not. They asked Mr Joseph K, as a friend, not to work so late with the power tools. They asked him to plan his works to avoid using power tools after dark, isn't that so? And if he couldn't do that, then to start work earlier in the day? Before 2 o'clock in the afternoon? Isn't that actually what happened?

Sort of.

I see, how very unreasonable of them to require some peace and quiet after a hard day working in Ms Lionheart's farm - and we know that you knew it was Ms Lionheart's farm.. But still, they didn't actually cut off your access to water and electricity did they? And they could have. Did they not, in fact continue to supply you with electricity for almost a year after you moved in? And water? For about eighteen months as I understand it. Isn't that so Mr Phrazer?

Kind of.

Let me bring you back to the agreement or contract that you signed with Mr Nicholas. The one that you say you were confused about. You were told, weren't you, that because of the location of the property the agreement would have to be a private agreement; that because the property was not in a town that he could not officially sell you an apartment? And you agreed to this private agreement. You also declined an offer to have the contract translated didn't you? You stated at that time that you didn't want any land other than the plot in front of your two floors. That you wouldn't want to leave the property to anyone. Didn't your wife say that since you do not have children, either of you, that she would bequeath the property back to Mr Nicholas on your deaths?

She never said that.

I have witnesses who will testify that all of this was so. I think that your so called witnesses have only your own unreliable word on which to base their testimony - their "recollection" of events at which they were never present.

No comments:

Post a Comment