The Public Prosecutor of the First Instance Court in the area where the environmental crime took place, opens criminal proceedings after receiving a “notitia criminis”, (claim of criminal offence). The claim is usually a written criminal complaint before an inquisition clerk, or the court. Though, the Prosecutor may also open the criminal proceeding “ex officio” for any criminal offence he is even unofficially being informed (e.g. newspaper).
Criminal proceedings have two stages, the pre-trial procedure (investigation of inquisition clerk, file opening) and the trial procedure (public procedure before the court).
In the pre trial procedure, the Public Prosecutor after the reception of a notitia criminis orders the preliminary inquiry (collection of the evidence, hearings, documenting etc.). After that he decides if prosecution is justified or to dismiss the case.
In case the Public Prosecutor decides to start prosecution he sends the case to trial before the competent court accompanied from a “Writ of Summons” where the respective possibly breached laws are mentioned.
According to Art. 93 of the Greek Constitution in combination with Art. 329 of the Criminal Procedure Law all trials are held public. Court decisions are pronounced in public. Exceptionally, in order to protect public morals or the personal or family life of the parties, the public character of the trial can be hindered. The Court decision must rely on the evidence presented during the trial.