Restraining order extended for Melbourne community leader Tony Tsourdalakis

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A personal intervention order placed on former President of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand (CFANZ), Tony Tsourdalakis, has been extended by a Victorian magistrate until Thursday, June 13.

This comes after a hearing for Mr Tsourdalakis’ case at the Ringwood Magistrates Court on Thursday, February 29 was adjourned.

Mr Tsourdalakis was first slapped with the personal intervention order in November 2023, after allegedly threatening to incite violence on former President of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne, Emanuel Starakis.

In an open letter published in The Greek Herald in July, Mr Starakis voiced concerns around the more than $30,000 in earthquake relief funds raised by the CFANZ and the Pancretan Association in 2021. Mr Starakis wrote that he wanted answers from Mr Tsourdalakis and his Board about where these funds had been allocated after it was announced they were given to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Crete.

Following the publication of this letter, Mr Tsourdalakis was arrested after Victoria Police were made aware of an alleged threat he made against Mr Starakis.

No criminal charges have been laid but legal proceedings were launched for the personal safety intervention order.

Tony tsourdalakis restraining order cretan president
Tony Tsourdalakis.

During the first court case on Thursday, November 16, Mr Starakis told the Magistrates Court via video link that Mr Tsourdalakis had reportedly sent a text message to a mutual friend which was perceived as threatening.

“The friend was asked to go find someone who Mr Tsourdalakis could pay, and I’m quoting verbatim, ‘who I can pay to break Starakis’ arms and legs’,” Mr Starakis told the court.

Mr Tsourdalakis’ lawyer said “there was no immediacy” with respect to an intervention order because there were no prior issues between the pair and Mr Tsourdalakis was “well-regarded” within Melbourne’s Greek community, so the threat “was likely never to happen again.”

Besides being the former President of the CFANZ, Mr Tsourdalakis is also a Director at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Victoria; Board Member at AGAPI Care; President of the Inter-communities Council of Victoria; Member of the Board of Directors of “Aetolian College”; Chairman of the Victorian 2021 Bicentenary Committee; and Chairman of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day.

In response, the Judge said even though the alleged threat had been made to a mutual friend and not Mr Starakis, the threat had still been made and it was an immediate cause for concern.

When handing down his interim order, the Judge said Mr Tsourdalakis must not have any contact with Mr Starakis and cannot be within 200 metres of where he lives or works. He must also remain within 5 metres of him.

Mr Tsourdalakis’ lawyer argued that in instances where Mr Tsourdalakis and Mr Starakis attended events of mutual interest within the Greek and Cretan community, the 5 metre restriction was not acceptable. The Judge said in those instances, the restriction would be reduced to 2 metres.

These orders now remain in place until the case goes before the courts again in June.

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