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Speeding MP’s trial adjourned, prosecution wants new charges added

File photo: Andreas Themistocleous at court

DISY deputy Andreas Themistocleous’ trial was adjourned for April 22 after the prosecution asked to withdraw one charge – out of seven – and replace it with another, the Nicosia district court ordered on Friday.

During the last hearing on Monday, defence lawyer Chris Triantafyllides argued that the charge sheet against contained irregularities, as the sixth charge – failing to comply with a police officer’s instructions – was not included in the violations of traffic laws for which the deputy’s immunity from prosecution was lifted.

On Friday, the prosecution addressed this argument by asking the court for permission to withdraw the sixth charge and replace it with another.

Judge Pavlos Kyriakides noted that asking to withdraw one charge and introduce another are two separate legal matters, and pointed that the withdrawal means that the defendant is cleared of this charge.

The prosecution explained that the sixth charge contained a typo, referring to the wrong article of traffic-law regulations, and thus asked for permission to introduce a new charge under the correct article.

The eighth charge would be filed under article 58, clause 2c of the traffic law, which stipulates that all drivers must “comply with the instructions of a uniformed police officer”.

Triantafyllides countered that the fact that the prosecution withdrew the sixth charge suggested that the defence was right to raise the issue of the charge sheet, and that its arguments were in no way aimed at delaying the procedure or securing unnecessary adjournments.

Further, he argued, the prosecution needs to double-check the validity of the rest of the articles it has included in the charge sheet, so that it doesn’t have to withdraw any more charges.

Requesting time to prepare his arguments on the objection he raised, Triantafyllides said it requires him to refer to the Constitution, as the Supreme Court – which lifted Themistocleous’ immunity so he could be tried – sanctioned the lifting of his client’s immunity for specific charges.

The court adjourned for April 22, when both the prosecution and the defence will make their arguments on the objection to the introduction of the eighth charge.

 

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