By Constantinos Psillides
The 17-year-old boy from Larnaca, who is currently in custody for the murder of British Cypriot Michael Antony Louis Mina on November 16, was on Tuesday referred to the Criminal Court where he will be charged with premeditated murder.
The teen will appear before the Criminal Court on January 12 and until then he will remain in custody.
A premeditated murder charge could result in a life sentence.
The 17-year-old was brought to the Larnaca District Court on Tuesday under heavy police escort.
The hearing on the murder of Mina started at 1.30pm but the teen is also facing charges in three other cases, all related to car thefts.
He asked, through his court appointed defence lawyer, for legal aid. The judge rejected the request, arguing that the defendant’s family appeared to be more than able to cover legal expenses. The judge ordered the welfare services to submit a report on the family’s financial capability by December 4. The Larnaca court wants the car theft hearings wrapped up before the Criminal Court convenes for the murder trial.
The boys has already been convicted of car theft in a previous case and was given a two-year suspended sentence in 2013.
The 17-year-old is now accused of stabbing the 22-year-old British Cypriot outside the victim’s apartment in the Makenzy area, in the early hours of November 16. The two had personal differences and the teenager had been dating the victim’s former girlfriend.
The teen has already admitted to the crime, leading police to the murder weapon, a 12cm special-forces knife. He maintains that he killed the victim in self-defence, telling police that Mina called him and arranged for a meeting so they could settle their differences. He told told investigators that the victim also pulled a knife on him and that he was only defending himself.
The accused was accompanied by two other men aged 34 and 27. Both told police they had no idea that the teen would murder the British Cypriot and they had tried to talk him out of hurting him.
Reports say both will be called as prosecution witnesses. A third man, a 26-year-old who tried to get rid of the accused’s bloody clothes, will also be called as a prosecution witness.
The case sparked major criticism against the state, for lacking the proper mechanisms to deal with delinquent teenagers. The 17-year-old was in some way implicated in around 60 cases of car theft and had already spent two months in the Central Prison in connection to one of those cases. His family had pleaded with police and the courts to keep him in custody regarding the car theft case but he was released due to his age.