By Constantinos Psillides
The trial of a Larnaca businessman and another man who are accused of sexually exploiting two underage girls was adjourned on Friday after the withdrawal of a defence lawyer.
Businessman Akis Lefkaritis, 57, and Nicos Nicolaou, 35, were arrested in April after a 15-year-old girl filed a complaint with the police.
Nicolaou requested a postponement on Friday, telling the court that his lawyer withdrew and the new one was abroad.
Judge Nicos Santis granted the request but warned Nicolaou that his new lawyer must be ready on June 4 – the date set for the next hearing – if they were going to plead not guilty.
Lefkaritis faces nine charges, including conspiracy to commit felony and sexual abuse of minors.
His co-defendant faces 21 charges, including rape, kidnap, conspiracy to commit felony, sexual abuse of minors, assault, and causing actual bodily harm.
The two men were arrested on April 30 after a 15-year-old girl reported to the police that she had been raped and beaten by Nicolaou.
She told police she met the 35-year-old on Facebook and arranged to meet with him, only to be kidnapped and taken to his apartment.
The girl claimed she had been beaten and raped by the 35-year -old, while forced to take drugs.
A second girl, 14, came to the man’s apartment and had asked to be paid for sexual services, police were told.
Nicolaou allegedly took both girls to an apartment in Larnaca where they were joined by Lefkaritis who also had sex them.
The 14-year old went to the police voluntarily and gave a lengthy statement corroborating the story told by the other girl.