The Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted the parliamentary immunity of DISY MP Andreas Themistocleous so that he could be tried for speeding offences.
The application was filed by Attorney-general Costas Clerides who cited repeated instances of speeding and inappropriate behaviour by Themistocleous towards police officers.
“We think that the behaviour, words and deeds, attributed to the defendant, leaves no room for different treatment,” the Supreme Court said. The decision was unanimous.
Not bringing an alleged repeat offender before a court “would have dealt a blow to the principle of equality and the rule of law.”
“Public interest dictates everyone’s submission to the law, independent of their capacity, and prosecution of violators as soon as possible,” the court said.
The court judged that the permission could cover all the stages of the case, from questioning to sentencing.
The attorney-general’s application concerns four incidents of speeding and one other traffic violation.
According to police, Themistocleous had been caught driving his car at a speed of 172 km/h on April 4, 2015 – 72km over the legal limit – 170km/h on February 12, 2015, 141km/h on October 14, 2014, and 91km/h in a 50km/h zone on July 10, 2014. He is also accused of violating a traffic signal – the white continuous line in the middle of the road.
Police also cited traffic offences between 1993 and 2011, and 21 between 2003 and 2015.
Police reports also indicated that, on numerous occasions, the MP behaved inappropriately towards the police officers, invoking his parliamentary immunity when told he would be charged.
Following the hearing, Themistocleous said he would be vindicated by the facts and realities and announced a news conference for the coming days where he is expected to give his side of the story.
“Today an unbelievable story has reached an end,” he said, “and as one would understand, an unbelievable ordeal for me and my family.”
The DISY MP reiterated that he had not raised any objections to the AG’s request, apart from its timing. He also said he did not accept the charge sheet, but that would be judged by a district court.
He said he did not want to make any public comments out of respect for the proceedings but will be having a news conference in the next few days to have his say.
“I will discuss all the facts of the application, the reasons, and of course we will talk about other matters also.”
Asked to confirm a recent report that he was caught speeding on the way to a Supreme Court hearing on February 1, Themistocleous said his only crime was speeding, and that there were other people who had done much worse and were still walking around freely. “I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. When she grows up and starts to learn, ask, and read about her father’s political course and action, I want to be certain, and I am, that the only thing she will find that her father did to harm the country where his traffic violations,” he said.
Daily Politis said that Themistocleous was clocked doing139 km/h on the Limassol-Nicosia highway near Kofinou at around 11am on February 1.
This time, Themistocleous reportedly paid the €78 fine and also got two penalty points on his driving licence.