Priest absolved

Author: Stephen Ryan
Date Published: 08/13/2008

BURWOOD’S Greek Orthodox priest the Rev Father John Grillis has confessed to assaulting a parishioner, but avoided a conviction.

A hearing into the two-year-old assault case was cut short in Burwood Court last week when a deal was struck between the prosecution and the defence team.

Father Grillis initially pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but then offered to plead guilty to the lesser charge of common assault.

Police facts stated that a meeting of the directors of the Parish Community of St Nectaris Burwood in February 2006 became heated. Father Grillis, 53, and 70-year-old parishioner John Mihalopoulous exchanged words before Father Grillis wrapped his arms around Mr Mihalopoulous’s shoulders and arm.

Other parishioners stepped in and separated the men.

Magistrate William Pierce found the charge proved, but did not convict or penalise Father Grillis.

“It was a minor assault. You’re of good character,” Mr Pierce said.

“There was a degree of provocation. I think it is appropriate that the charge is proved, but dismissed.”