By Constantinos Psillides
THE Limassol Criminal Court decided on Friday to withdraw criminal charges against Christoforos Kyprianou, 60, and Michalis Michail, 60, who were previously accused of being accomplices of Andreas Onoufriou, a former convict facing 21 charges including attempted murder.
The judge ruled that the prosecution hadn’t provided conclusive evidence to justify a trial and ordered the two men freed.
Onoufriou, had been on the run in May, before he was found and apprehended in Lagia, in the Larnaca district.
Police had tried to arrest Onoufriou five days earlier at his apartment in Limassol but he was armed with a G3 assault rifle, the same type issued by the National Guard, and he took off. When he was arrested, Onoufriou had also a hunting gun on his person.
He also opened fired at members of the counter-terrorism unit before his arrest at Lagia, while holding his five-year-old son in his arms.
Kyprianou is the owner of the house Onoufriou was using as a refuge to escape capture in Lagia, while Michail allegedly provided the former convict with a hunting gun.
The trial began with police officers testifying by producing evidence relate with the case.
Onoufriou –who is representing himself in court- asked early for a recess to study the evidence provided. When the recess was over, Onoufriou filed a complaint saying that he wasn’t allowed access to everything he needed and was thus unable to defend himself. The prosecution argued that due to security reasons, whenever there was a recess, Onoufriou must be led back to a holding cell handcuffed.
The judge finally allowed Onoufriou to sit at a table and have the evidence brought before him, so that the trial could continue.
Onoufriou had previously pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges.
He was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 1996 for the attempted murder of a judge in Limassol.
In 2012 he was named in a plot to murder then Attorney-general Petros Clerides but the charges were later dropped.