Nicosia court Wednesday heard mitigation arguments from the lawyer representing Kyriakos Syllouris, the son of House President, Demitris Syllouris, who was found guilty Monday of causing the death of 26-year-old Sebastian Petros Karapateas through negligent, reckless and dangerous driving.
The accident occurred in Kalliopis street, Strovolos at 3.15am on September 21, 2013 when the Mercedes car the then 20-year-old Syllouris was driving collided with a Vespa scooter ridden by Karapateas, fatally injuring him.
Defence lawyer Christakis Christofides spoke for an hour and a half, painting a picture of a young man devastated by the accident, describing the psychological damage and scars the incident had inflicted on his client, while pleading for a non-custodial sentence.
The court had heard moments earlier from the prosecution that Syllouris had no criminal record but had eight points on his licence.
Syllouris, dressed in a black polo shirt, unshaven and with his long black hair tied up in a bun, listened showing no emotion, while occasionally looking as if he was trying hard to keep his eyes open and briefly pausing proceedings to ask for water.
Christofides said his client had not displayed egotistic behaviour in his driving leading up to the accident, which he described as a momentary lapse on Syllouris’ part.
The lawyer brought up the fact that his client had no alcohol in his system when tested after the collision, in contrast with the victim who was twice over the legal limit.
Christofides criticised the state for not being stricter with people who repeatedly parked illegally, obstructing the view of the road, something else he partially blamed the accident on.
The lawyer drew attention to the fact that Syllouris came from a good family and had studied for a year at a Paphos university, and presented a letter confirming his acceptance into Canterbury and Christchurch University in the UK starting on the September 19 this year.
He drew attention to the psychological problems the 23-year-old faced, the emotional issues and depression he was battling since the incident saying prison psychiatrists he saw agreed he be put on medication.
Christofides argued that a custodial sentence would not fit Syllouris and that the sentence should not only match the crime, but the individual, citing his previous good character, his cooperation with the police immediately after the accident, as he did not stall or hesitate giving a statement saying his client should be given a second, last chance and not a custodial sentence.
A plethora of choices other than an immediate custodial sentence were available, he argued saying the young man should be given a chance to reform and become a good citizen, while prison would ruin the positive course of his life, he said while putting specific emphasis on the age of his client.
The time factor between the offence being committed and justice being served was also brought up as every accused person had the right to swift justice.
Christofides touched on the fact that the original judge removed herself after the Karapateas family wrote a letter to the Supreme Court and that no investigation was carried out in relation to her recusing herself.
A second judge also contributed to the delay as his workload was deemed too heavy and the case was passed to presiding judge Pavlos Kyriakides.
All these changes added to the delay in bringing justice, he said.
Christofides then suggested a fine would be an acceptable penalty for his client but that if a sentence was passed, it should be a suspended one.
He then offered condolences to the deceased’s relatives on behalf of himself, his client and his client’s family.
Concluding, Christofides held up press cuttings, saying that cases were tried and justice served within the four walls of a court and not in the press and social media.
The judge set the date for sentencing to September 22 and ordered Syllouris remain in custody until then.