The trial of sitting DISY MP Andreas Themistocleous in connection with repeated traffic violations will resume on June 29, despite the prosecution’s request that it be expedited and concluded before the upcoming legislative elections in May, the court ruled on Thursday.
At Thursday’s hearing, defence lawyer Chris Triantafyllides argued that the court should deny the prosecution’s request for an expedited trial.
Triantafyllides said the request was based on inaccurate assumptions, like the claim that his client denied all charges so as to delay the trial until after the elections.
“My client denied the charges before the Supreme Court, from the very start,” Triantafyllides said, referring to the hearing in which the country’s top judicial body ruled to lift Themistocleous’ immunity from prosecution over the speeding offences.
The defence attorney said that the Supreme Court’s reference to adjudicating the case in “reasonable time” did not imply an expedited trial.
“The attorney-general is completely unjustified in asking the court to sideline the rights of all other citizens of the Republic of Cyprus so that a man who was waived his parliamentary immunity so that he can be treated just like any other citizen,” he argued.
Countering the argument that the offences were committed two years ago, and thus the trial should be expedited on these grounds, Triantafyllides wondered why the attorney-general waited two years to file the case, and why the court “should be responsible for remedying the delay”.
The defence lawyer said his client is not responsible for any delay in adjudicating the case, and called on the court to reject the request for an expedited trial.
The state prosecutor said the prosecution has no intention of putting the defendant through a “sloppy trial”, nor has it “persecuted” the defendant.
The request for an expedited trial, he said, was made to protect the defendant, in light of his capacity as a sitting parliamentarian and a candidate in the upcoming elections.
“Thank you for your offer of protection – we don’t need it,” Triantafyllides countered.
In his ruling, district court judge Pavlos Kyriakides said that “scheduling and adjudication of cases is done by the court in chronological order, after considering the time each case was filed”.
“Without prejudice to the seriousness of the violations attributed to the defendant, I must also note that older cases pending before this court include cases in which defendants are accused of more serious offences,” he said.
“As in any other case, and taking into consideration the court’s heavy workload, which includes a large number of older cases, and without ignoring any citizen’s constitutional rights, this case is set to be heard on June 29, 2016, at 11 am.”