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Supreme Court prepares to rule on lifting immunity of serial speeder MP

MP Andreas Themistocleous (left) entering the Supreme Court on Monday

The Supreme Court said on Monday that sometime over the next few days it will rule on the lifting – or not – of the parliamentary immunity of DISY MP Andreas Themistocleous to face prosecution for traffic offences.

The court heard the final clarifications of the litigants – Themistocleous and Attorney-general (AG) Costas Clerides, representing the state  – and reserved judgement for the next hearing.

The Supreme Court is considering a request filed to it by the AG citing repeated instances of speeding and inappropriate behaviour by Themistocleous towards police officers.

Along with the request, Clerides had 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 – 72km 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, on numerous occasions, the deputy behaved inappropriately towards the police officers, invoking his parliamentary immunity when told he would be charged.”

Coming out of the court on Monday, Clerides told reporters that the total number of cases for which the lifting of immunity is being requested amount to six.

Other older cases involving Themistocleous have expired under the statute of limitations, but were nevertheless submitted to the court “in order to provide a comprehensive picture”.

The MP’s lawyer Chris Triantafyllides likewise said some of the offences mentioned in court date back to 1993, when Themistocleous obtained his driving licence.

“In my opinion, it was not necessary to mention these,” he added.

Triantafyllides reiterated that from the outset his client never objected to the request for having his parliamentary immunity lifted, and that Themistocleous would “fully respect the court’s decision, whatever it may be”.

For his part, the deputy told the media that whereas he does not challenge the AG’s request per se, he does dispute the evidence presented against him.

“The evidence contains inaccuracies…for instance, there is no warrant or fine which is unpaid,” he said.

In April 2012 then-President Demetris Christofias granted Themistocleous (who was not an MP at the time) a presidential pardon for four separate criminal cases relating to traffic offences. In three of these cases the deputy had been fined €250 and two penalty points on his driving licence, while for the fourth €150. An imprisonment order had also been issued against him on January 25, 2010.

Asked about this, Themistocleous said he had never asked for the pardon.

“It is the former attorney-general who requested the pardon. So this has nothing to do with me.”

The MP said he was anxious for the case to be resolved swiftly, as he had other business to attend to.

“I have nothing more to say other than that we now await the [Supreme Court’s] decision and, God willing, I shall once again be running as a candidate for DISY, because you understand that an election campaign requires a great deal of attention and work, and this affair needs to be over with.”

 

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