By Evie Andreou
A lawyer for 17-year-old Alexis Anastasiou, found guilty of manslaughter in the stabbing death of British Cypriot Michael Antony Louis Mina, 22, in Larnaca last November, blamed the state for its failure to address his client’s delinquent behaviour and drug addiction during a mitigation hearing on Thursday.
The defendant’s lawyer, Yiannis Polychronis said that the court should take into consideration that his client was willing from the start to admit that he was a drug addict and suffered from mental health issues.
He said the responsibility lay with the system in its dealings with young offenders.
Anastasiou had shown signs of delinquency since childhood, started using addictive substances and then hard drugs.
At the age of 14, the teen was incarcerated for three months at the central prisons where shared a cell with adult inmates serving long sentences, “which played a defining role in his subsequent behaviour”, said Polychronis.
“His interaction with unscrupulous adults, convicts serving long sentences and members of the underworld, led to a further step towards the slippery slope that had already begun for him and pushed him further into the organised crime mindset, as after his release he became hardended and had formed [criminal] connections,” Polychronis added.
As regards the 17-year-old’s drug addiction, the court heard, his parents had turned to several government services for help but without a response, “since there was no infrastructure on the island with suitable treatments”.
“The state failed to deal with due diligence Alexis Anastasiou’s case,” Polychronis argued.
He also referred to a report by Children’s Rights Commissioner Leda Koursoumba according to which the creation of programmes for minor detainees was imperative.
On behalf of his client Polychronis expressed his condolences to the family of the victim and his apologies “for not being able to turn time back”.
Anastasiou was charged with stabbing Mina, outside the victim’s apartment in the Mackenzie area, in the early hours of November 16, acting, he claimed, in self-defence.
He had said that Mina had arranged a meeting so they could settle their differences, over the victim dating his ex girlfriend.
Anastasiou will be sentenced on Tuesday July 14.