THE hearing of the trial of former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas, his former assistant Maria Solomonidou, her father Ilias Solomonides, and husband Constantinos Sifantos, over the sending of threatening text messages to various individuals – including Vergas – was postponed for the third time on Thursday.
The Paphos District Court granted defence lawyers’ Giorgos Georgiou, defending Vergas, and Michalis Pikis, representing the Solomonidou family, request for a continuance on grounds of an appeal with the Supreme Court and their heavy workload.
Pikis filed an appeal against an interim court ruling rejecting his argument that deeming the defendants’ telecommunications data admissible evidence in court was a violation of their right to privacy. The appeal is due to be heard in May.
In his request for a continuance, Georgiou said he was busy with the appeal of Elena Skordeli – the former TV presenter who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 for the murder of Dias media group boss Andis Hadjicostis. Hearing of the appeal started on Wednesday.
The prosecution did not object to the continuance request.
Presiding judge Panicos Michaelides postponed the case for September 14.
He ordered that the three defendants – Vergas is serving a six-year jail term after confessing to taking bribes – be released on bond, with their names placed on the stop-list. Solomonidou had to post bail of €10,000, and the two men €5,000.
According to the facts of the case, the threatening texts were sent in September 2014 to Vergas’ replacement Phedonas Phedonos, then a municipal councillor, former acting municipal engineer Androulla Efthimiou, and journalist Costas Nanos – and Vergas.
The defendants are facing 11 charges, including conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, written threats of murder, interfering with judicial proceedings, and threatening text messages.
All four have pleaded not guilty.