By Angelos Anastasiou
The Supreme Court has been asked to lift DISY MP Andreas Themistocleous’ immunity from prosecution, so that he can be tried for repeated instances of outrageous speeding, Attorney-general Costas Clerides announced on Thursday.
According to a statement by the Legal Service, the request was filed on Thursday and will be heard by the court’s full bench.
In the statement, Clerides described how a police report from last September, according to which Themistocleous had been caught driving his car at a speed of 172 km/h – 72 over the legal maximum – and various press reports that Themistocleous had been a serial offender, triggered a request for detailed records by the AG.
“Reviewing and evaluating the evidence, a very large number of convictions and fines against the MP was revealed, mainly relating to speeding, among other instances, with 141, 170, and even up to 190 km/h,” Clerides said.
“Further, police reports also indicated that, in numerous occasions, the deputy behaved inappropriately towards the police officers, invoking his parliamentary immunity when told he would be charged.”
In the statement, it is further noted that due to his capacity as a parliamentarian, which affords immunity from criminal prosecution, “most of the convictions were cancelled, some criminal prosecutions filed by police were suspended, while other serious charges were deferred to the end of his parliamentary term”.
“Since the sum total of available evidence suggests that the deputy has repeatedly, and invoking his parliamentary immunity, violated laws and regulations, under conditions that constitute public danger, the Attorney-general has decided to request the Supreme Court to lift Mr Themistocleous’ parliamentary immunity, so that his prosecution with regard to the most recent of the charges against him can be facilitated,” the Legal Service said.
“The request was filed on Thursday to the Supreme Court, and will be heard by the full bench.”
The statement came a week after Clerides said he would be going after delinquent MPs for traffic offences. At the time, Themistocleous – the target of repeated speeding reports by daily Politis – had taken offence by the reference.
“The attorney-general’s objective was not to dispense justice … but to vilify me,” Themistocleous said.
Clerides responded that he was speaking generally and not referring to any MP specifically.
In a statement released later on Thursday, Themistocleous said he had full confidence in the justice system, adding that he hoped for a swift verdict from the Supreme Court.
“Until such time as I have officially received the charge sheet and been informed of the charges levelled against me, I have nothing to state other than that I hold confidence in Cypriot justice.”
Speaking to the state broadcaster, the MP wondered why other wayward lawmakers were not being prosecuted, and hinted that the action against him was politically motivated, coming just a few months before the May legislative elections.