SUPREME COURT

 

Judgement’s Number: 590 /2015

 

Synopsis

Non-recognized Association - Election of new members - Masonic association - Disciplinary proceedings. The Grand Council of the 33rd degree for Greece of The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is an association of individuals without a view to profit, is organized and operates as a union, but does not typically have the status of the association since the necessary formalities haven’t been fulfilled (Non-recognized Association). Imposing definitive deletion penalty during the disciplinary procedures of the Freemasonic association.

 

Body of the Decision

Number: 590 /2015

THE SUPREME COURT of GREECE

A1 'Political Dpt.

FORMATED by the Judges: Anthony Zevgolis, Presiding Supreme Court Judge (the Vice President of the Supreme Court George Chrysikou was unable to attend), George Leka, Penelope Live, Athanasios Gaganis and Dimitrios Georgas, Supreme Court Judges.

Publicly met in its auditorium on April 20, 2015, with the presence of Secretary George Fistouri to adjudicate between:

The appellants: 1) Union of Persons without a legal personality under the name “SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE 33rd DEGREE FOR GREECE OFTHE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE”, 2) Union of Persons without a legal personality under the name “GRAND COUNCIL OF THE 33rd DEGREE FOR GREECE OFTHE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE”, located in Athens and legally represented, which were represented by their attorney Ch. M. and submitted proposals.

The respondent: P. N., Resident of... who was represented by his attorney, George Tsaprounis and didn’t submit any proposals.

The dispute initiated by the lawsuit filed in the Court of First Instance of Athens on 14/02/2009 by the already respondent. The following Verdicts were issued: 4875/2009 final of the same Court and 5886/2013 of the Court of Appeals of Athens. The appellants ask the appeal in cassation of the last decision by their application of the 02.08.2014 and its additional reasons of the 02/11/2014.

During the discussion of the request the parties were present, as indicated above. The Rapporteur Supreme Court Judge Dimitrios Georgas read out his report of the 03.12.2014, He recommended the rejection of the appeal against the decision 5886/2013 of the Athens Appeals Court as well as its additional grounds.

The attorney of the appellant requested the acceptance of the request, the attorney of the respondent its rejection and the conviction of each opposite party to pay the costs involved.

 

DELIBERATED ACCORDING TO THE LAW

 

Under Article 559 No. 1 Code of Civil Procedure, appeal ground is established if a substantive rule has been infringed. The rule of law is infringed if it is not implemented, while the conditions of its application to what is accepted as proven by the trial court, real facts, or if it’s been applied although it shouldn’t have, as well as if improperly applied, and the violation is manifested either by false interpretation, or by faulty application, i.e. incorrect entry (AP 7/2006). Furthermore, according to article 559 No. 19 Code of Civil Procedure, appeal in cassation is allowed if the decision has no legal basis, particularly if there is no justification or having contradiction in the reasoning or inadequate in matters that have significant effect on the outcome of the trial. From the considerate statutory provision, a ratification of the infringement of the article 93 § 3 of the Constitution it appears that the predicted ground of appeal is founded when on the minor suggestion of the real legal reasoning, real incidents are not exposed at all (lack of reasoning) or when the facts stated do not cover all the details required based on the actual rule of the applicable law, for the occurrence of legal consequence that was charged or its denial (insufficient grounds) or when they contradict each other (contradictory reasoning). There is however no insufficient grounds when the decision contains brief but complete justifications. After all, the necessary legal content of minor proposal is determined by each applicable substantive rule, which reality must be fully covered by the assumptions of the decision on the acknowledged conclusion and not leaving any doubts. Owing to the absence, only referring to the analysis and weighting of the evidence and generally on the grounds of proving finding, if is clearly defined, there are no insufficient justifications. Only what was proved or wasn’t proved is necessary to be set out on the full and clear decision and not why it was proved or why it wasn’t proved. Furthermore, the arguments of the court related to the consideration of the evidence, do not constitute assumptions on the basis of which the proof of finding is formed and therefore does not constitute a "justification" of the decision, so the investigated under the provision of Article 559 No. 19 of the Code is open to that criticism for contradictoriness or failure, while not the same ground of appeal is created neither because the court is not particularly and thoroughly analyzes the non-independent claims constituting arguments of the parties so the relevant ground of appeal is rejected as inadmissible (AP 551/2011).

Finally according to the Regulation of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree for Greece of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1872 in Article 8 is stated that officers are elected by the Supreme Council only of its members every three years during the month of December, with an open ballot and by absolute majority of those present, the fraction regarded as integer unit.

 

All officers of the Supreme Council are eligible, subject to paragraph 11 of Article 15. In Article 10 is stated that in case of death, resignation or inability to exercise the duties of the Supreme Grand Commander or Proconsul Grand Commander the 'High Council must meet within fifteen (15) days under the chairmanship of the other and proceed to the election of his successor this for the remaining of the three years period. If there is the above case for any of them, the 'Supreme Council must meet within fifteen (15) days under the chairmanship of the oldest of the active members, and at his invitation, proceeds on either the election of the two officers or, only temporarily, on the election Proconsul of the Grand Commander or simply elect one of its members temporarily, up to a maximum of three months from his election, for the direction of the High Council.

According to Article 11 of the Regulation in case of a vacant position of one of the other officers during the period of three years the 'High Council must, within fifteen (15) days proceed to the filling of the position for the rest of the remaining three years period. According to Article 34 the members of the Supreme Council must be invited in writing in Congress by the Grand Chancellor, Grand Secretary General prior five (5) days. In urgent case, the invitation is also made, in writing, either one day before the meeting or within the same day. In the agenda the invitation to the High Council must be mentioned.

 

In the present case the Court accepted at the Unaudited for this judgment the following accurately copied: The Grand Council of the 33rd degree for Greece of The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is an association of individuals without a view to profit, is organized and operates as a union, but does not typically have the status of the association since the necessary formalities haven’t been fulfilled. Therefore it is a union that constitutes an "unrecognized association" and the relations created around it are governed primarily from its statute and complementary from the provisions of the Civil Code for associations, including those of Articles 88 and 101 of the Civil Code.

More specifically the statute consists of:

 

  1. The major constitutions in 1762 and 1786 of Freemasonry

  2. The General Regulations of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree for Greece of the Ancient and proven Scottish type (of the year 2006)

 

 

The same applies to the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree for Greece of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish type, consisting of the officers of the Grand Council.

 

More specifically the applicant was elected as President - Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council in November 2007 with a three-year term ending on 3-11-2010. By virtue of 05.11.2008 invitation convened at the behest of the applicant the High Council to meet on 10-11-2008 at 18.00 at the Masonic Hall, with the following agenda: 1) The 49th European Congress Hypatia Great Taxiarchon, 2) approving expenditure and 3) any other work normally adducted. Actually, on the above mentioned date the High Council met and was chaired by the claimant.

During the discussion on the issues of the agenda, the Proconsul Grand Commander S. K. declared his resignation of his duties to organize and conduct the 49th congress, due to his inability of completion. Before him, the Great treasurer, Ch. M., Said he takes responsibility for the organization of the above conference, in addition, he disclaims from the post of Grand Treasurer to prepare this (conference) due to workload. This created a gap in the above position and in order to be filled it was decided by the present members of the High Council of the first defendant, the plaintiff to take the post of Grand Treasurer and the rank of the plaintiff, ie of the Supreme Grand Commander, Ch. M.. In this development the applicant strongly reacted, since he had never resigned his post, neither existed another obstacle for staying in it and therefore he became the minority in the voting.

Furthermore it was established that the same meeting was followed by the election of new active members to fill the first defendant's position and were elected specifically K. C., E. G., E. G., Pp. Th., N. K., N. . K., E. M. and D. P. and then was decided that the reception and the official confirmation of the newly elected would take place on 12-11-2008 at 18:00.

The plaintiff also reacted in the above mentioned election of the new members. Furthermore it turned out that at that date (12-11-2008) the ceremony and the solemn affirmation of the degree to the newly elected actually took place, which was also attended by the applicant, without acting as High Grand Commander.

 

Subsequently, the applicant, although invited by the newly elected Supreme Grand Commander, Ch. M., refused to deliver the office, tectonic tools etc. and to receive the treasury.

 

Then he (plaintiff) notified by a bailiff extrajudicial statements also to the Grand Lodge of Greece, that these are Masonic offenses, foreseen by Article 104 and punishable, set out in Article 116 of the General Regulation so X. M. , in his capacity as Supreme Grand Commander invited on the 19-11-2008 by invitation the Supreme Council members to appear on 26-11-2008 at 17.00 at the Supreme Council office, in order to consider whether to reject the accusation, in detriment of the plaintiff, or conduct a questioning. It must be noted that the applicant became aware of the above mentioned invitation and with his extrajudicial statement on the 26-11-2008, which was served on the same day to the first defendant and specifically half an hour before the meeting (See the number presented is 9592G726-11-2008 of the bailiff at the Athens Court Kon/nou- N. K.), he developed his positions, stated that he never resigned from the post of Supreme Grand Commander and moreover that he will not attend the scheduled meeting.

 

Then, once the disciplinary procedure was completed, the first defendant held a meeting in plenary assembly on 15-12-2008 as Supreme Disciplinary Council and having adjudicate the charges against the applicant, the imposed the penalty of final deletion.

 

This decision was notified to him on 12/21/2008, via a postal services company and is as follows: "We inform you that The Grand Council of the 33rd degree for Greece of The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite met in plenary assembly on the 15th December 2008 at 18.00 as Supreme Disciplinary Council has examined the acts attributed to you and found that you are liable and imposed the penalty of your final deletion". According to Article 15 par. 1 of the General Rules of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree "the Supreme Great Commander, leader of the Greek Philosophical Freemasonry or his legal deputy, convenes and directs the Supreme Council and chairs its sessions."

 

According to Article 34 of the Regulation "the Supreme Council members are invited in writing in Congress under the Supreme Great Commander or his legal deputy the Grand Chancellor, Grand Secretary General, prior to five (5) days. In urgent case, the invitation is also made, in writing, either one day before the meeting or within the same day. In the agenda the invitation to the High Council must be mentioned. In Article 10 is stated that in case of death, resignation or inability to exercise the duties of the Supreme Grand Commander or Proconsul Grand Commander the 'High Council must meet within fifteen (15) days under the chairmanship of the other and proceed to the election of his successor this for the remaining of the three years period. If there is no invitation in due time, any member of the High Council is able to call the council at a meeting for the above mentioned election. According to Article 38 of the Regulation any decision in the High Council shall be taken by open vote. Similarly is performed the election of the officers. Members vote in seniority of admission. First votes the youngest and last of all votes the High Grand Commander. According to article 39 any proposition, submitted to the Supreme Council is made in writing and filed with the Great Secretariat five (5) days prior to the meeting of the High Council as defined on the agenda. According to article 8 officers are elected by the Supreme Council only of its members every three years during the month of December, with an open ballot and by absolute majority of those present, the fraction regarded as integer unit. According to Article 14 of Regulation "for filling the position or positions of associate members of the Great Council or active members in the Supreme Council each member of the High Council is entitled until October 31 of each year to submit to the Great Secretariat each filling each vacancy one proposal signed by him, the name of one of the Honorary Grand General Inspectors to fill a position or one of the examiners or members of the High Council in Athens or in Piraeus. For the filling position active member of the High Council if vacancies are more than one, the proposal cannot contain more names than the vacant positions. Upon expiration of this period, the Great General Secretariat cannot accept any proposal, but immediately establishes the list of all due time proposed and sends it to every member of the list eight (8) days prior to the regular session of December’s Supreme Council each year, during which the election of new examiners members of the Great Council or active members of the High Council is done. A single negative vote, which must be justified, is sufficient to reject the candidate. Two or more negative votes, even without justification, imply the rejection of the candidate.

 

According to Article 57 of the Regulation the 33rd and last degree of the A.A.S.T. is awarded according to the standard of the degree, in official conference, only under the High Council, before which the official asseveration is given, after a favorable decision of the High Council. Furthermore according to Article 124 of the General Regulation any given category by a member of the Great Council, the High Council either as a result of a complaint or ex officio when seized, rules in the absence of the respondent if the accusation in principle will reject it or ordered a questioning. In the second case a committee is defined for this investigative consisted of the Great orator and two other members of the High Council. The Commission appoints Rapporteur ... The conclusions of this is deposited at the Great Secretariat and submitted to the Supreme Council, which, with a hearing of the rapporteur, decides whether the accused should be freed or called to trial before of the High Council Plenary. This defines a hearing date, in which the accused is called prior to eight (8) days at least as attend, being entitled to take in the meantime knowledge of pleadings and evidence. In the same way the plaintiff is notified if there is such. "On the orders of the General Regulation, in combination with the other evidence has proved that the first defendant, the High Council has decided illegally.

 

A) On 10-11-2008 the election of Ch. M. to the post of Supreme Grand Commander and actually in position of the claimant, since

a) Did not include such an issue to the invitation of the of the High Council members as agenda item in violation of Article 34 of the GC

b) At any time during the hearing did not take place explicitly or implicitly a declaration of withdrawal by the applicant from his position or inability to exercise his duties, neither had expired his term, so there was no reason for a successor to be elected as Supreme Grand Commander and therefore the election of Ch. M. to the above post, with a simultaneous deposition of the plaintiff, occurred in violation of Article 10 of GK and

 

B) On 10-11-2008 he decided the election of new members to the rank of 33rd degree and Supreme Council decided to take place the taking of the oath on 12-11-2008, when the above mentioned degree was awarded, since

 

a) The invitation of the High Council members did not include such an issue as a matter of the agenda, in violation of Article 34 of the GC,

b) Has not been met, as it turned out, the preliminary procedure provided by Article 14 of GK, ie submission to the Great Secretariat until 31-10-2008, candidate proposal, signed by an active member of the Supreme Council, in the absence of this the election of new members of the Supreme Council and their installation at this position was not legitimate.

Furthermore has proved that the High Council on 15-12-2008 illegally imposed in violation of the GK against the applicant the disciplinary penalty of final deletion, since he is not summoned to be present at the above meeting, as stipulated in Article 124 Fri the 3rd ed. f of GK .

Moreover, alleged on defendants subpoena that the invitation to the meeting on 26-11-2008, in which under Article 124 GK was decided in his absence to conduct questioning and does not concerns the summons of the latter in the final meeting of the Supreme Council session, after submitting to it of the findings of the the rapporteur who actually performed the questioning.

 

It must be noted that the applicant reacted strongly in taking the above decisions, taken at the meetings of 10-11-2008 and 12-11-2008. In fact, for this reason he refused to comply with these (decisions) and deliver the office, the Order chain, gifts and seal that was given to him as High Commander.

Specifically has proved that the applicant sent to all Philosophical Workshops a letter in which he described what unlawfully took place at the Supreme Council meeting on 10-11-2008, at the same time declaring that still bears and performs the duties of Supreme Grand Commander.

Indeed on 12-11-2008 he issued a launching appliance and dismissal of Ch. M ..

Subsequently the plaintiff on 26-11-2008 handed to Supreme Council by the bailiff from 26-11- 2008 disclosure (See. The number presented is 9592G726-11-2008 performance report of the bailiff in the Athens Court K. - N. K.) in which he presented what took place illegally, while stating that, if order isn’t restored, he will appeal to the Greek Justice.

In finding a compromise framework, which would lead to a return to calm in the Masonic Union, the plaintiff in 28-11-2008, addressed to X. M., as High Grand Commander, signed a document (letter), which stated that resigns his office, due to failure of effective and full exercise of his duties because of his advanced age and his state of health, expressing his desire to remain at the High Council as a simple Active Member that, then followed negotiated order the applicant to take the post of Honorary Supreme Grand Commander (see. the instrument produced a draft letter undated, signed by the applicant, as he himself admits). But these documents were drafted and signed by the applicant before the decision on deletion and therefore do not prove the opposite, that he wished to resign his office and take the title of Honorary Supreme Grand Commander. Indeed, the above analysis and reinforced by the testimony of the witness of the defendants, who was examined by the first instance court testified that the plaintiff had not said that waiving the post and, furthermore, that withdrew the above resignation letter. In view of the above undertaking accepted there is a clear implementation of the substantive law governing associations without legal personality as well as the Statute and these have been subjected rightly the facts in these rules. The receiver of the analytical juxtaposition of the receivers without control on realized facts Haven’t proved that there was an admission of the respondent, the letter sent to Ch.M. on 28-11-2008, for which Complete reference is made and in fact revocation of the letter of resignation, the stage of negotiations to amicable settlement of the dispute, there are no contradictions, since the defendant strongly reacted to all procedural steps and none accepted, minority opinion and protested against as above been supplied impeachment, since neither the time of office had expired or had resigned, neither exist such an issue in convening in Supreme Council of 10-11-2008, neither were considered the major theme of this deposing as urgent cases forming part of the concept of "any other work normally adduct ", neither of course he wished to take up the post of the Grand Treasurer, from which he had resigned Ch. M. and only this position should be filled. The same also applies for the subsequent actions of some members as for the removal his as a disciplinary penalty. The supported against it in the grounds of appeal of the main application and the first additional grounds as that having the decision contradiction in the reasoning are judged unfounded and therefrom are rejected the reasons pertaining to violation of Art. 559 No. 1 and 19 of the Code. According to Article. 559 No. 20 Code of Civil Procedure appeal is allowed if the court distorted the contents of a document to actually accept events obviously different from those referred to in this document. The above reason is established only when the trial court erred as to the document, a diagnostic error, related to the reading of the document (read error), assuming that it contains facts clearly different from those actually contains, not when the content of the document, which was read correctly deduces finding evidence other than that which the appellant considers incorrect. In the last case it is a complaint referring to the assessment of facts which falls outside the appellate review (ol CA 2/2008).

 

FOR THESE REASONS

 

Rejects the request and all additional reasons against judgment 5886/2013 of the Athens Court of Appeal.

He orders the introduction of a fee to the Treasury, and imposes against the appellants to pay the costs of the respondent, who attended without filing proposals, which defines the amount of one thousand eight hundred (1,800) euros.

Judged and decided in Athens on April 28, 2015.

 

The presiding Supreme Court Judge

The Secretary

 

Supreme Council 33º for Greece

© 2015 by SR HERALD GREECE

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