By Constantinos Psillides
Larnaca businessman Akis Lefkaritis, 57, and Nicos Nicolaou, 35, will be sentenced next Tuesday after pleading guilty to charges of sexually exploiting two underage girls, ages 14 and 15, a court decided Tuesday.
On June 4 Lefkaritis pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually exploiting a minor while Nicolaou pleaded guilty to six charges, including possession and supply of cocaine.
Sexual exploitation is the most serious charge the two defendants face, carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.
Both men appeared at court on Tuesday for their lawyers’ closing statements. While it was expected to be a swift process, the hearing ended up going on for five hours, since the prosecutor and Lefkaritis’ defence lawyer could not agree on the number of times the Larnaca businessman had sexual relations with the 14-year old girl.
The prosecutor claimed that based on testimonies Lefkaritis had sex with the underage girl at least once a week for a year. The defence lawyer rejected that claim, saying that his client had sex with her on far fewer occasions.
According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the judge was on the verge of calling the girl to stand as a witness but the two sides compromised on a figure.
According to CNA, the 57-year old businessman admitted to having sex with the girl 18 times from March 2013 to April 2014.
CNA cited unnamed sources saying the defence lawyer claimed the 14-year-old was not a virgin when Lefkaritis first had sex with her and that his client has been thrashed and ridiculed by the media, as reasons to receive a reduced sentence.
Nicolaou had pleaded guilty to six charges – four in connection with sexually exploiting a minor between March 2013 and April 2014, and one for corrupting a young woman aged between 13 and 16, an offence that took place on April 27, 2014.
He also admitted to possession of cocaine and supplying a 15-year-old girl on the same date.
The two men were arrested on April 30 after the 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 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 took both girls to an apartment in Larnaca where they were joined by Lefkaritis who also had sex them.
By Constantinos Psillides