A 50-year-old man was found guilty on Thursday in the death of a motorist in 2015, killed after the defendant, high on drugs, slammed into the rear of his vehicle, which was stopped at the Enaerios traffic lights in Limassol.
Yiannis Kyriakides was found guilty of manslaughter, driving under the influence of cocaine, and driving at a speed that could put lives in danger.
It is the first time that a driver who caused a death in a road accident has been charged with manslaughter. The maximum penalty is life in jail.
His lawyer will plead for leniency on July 17.
Kyriakides, a taxi driver, killed 25-year-old Stephanos Georgiou on October 30, 2015 year when the BMW X6 he was driving slammed violently into the back of the victim’s car, which was stationary at a red light at Enaerios in Limassol
Test results showed that the defendant had been driving under the influence of cocaine, cannabis, and alcohol.
At the time of the incident, Kyriakides had no valid driver’s licence and already had another case pending against him for speeding.
The 50-year-old was been given a two-month suspended jail sentence last year for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. Both his professional and personal driver’s licences had been revoked for six months.
Following the October incident, he had been taken to a private clinic where he gave a false name, police said.
He later assaulted officers, nurses, and a security guard before being taken to a police station.
Kyriakides initially refused to undergo a breathalyser test and did the same later when asked to provide a blood sample.
The court said it had sought guidance from Cypriot and British case law, noting that to prove manslaughter, it was not necessary to prove the defendant’s intention to bring about death, but that it was enough to prove their intention to carry out an unlawful act that brought about death.
The previous penalties did not set him straight, and three months later, while knowing the consequences of his actions, he decided to break the law again and “repeat his previous criminal behavior, driving on the coastal road under the influence of substances at breakneck speed, the court said.”
Taking into consideration the events and evidence before it, the criminal court judged that the defendant did not fall into the category of perpetrators who brought about the death of their victims without realizing the dangers of their illegal acts.
“He opted to drive in the condition he had put himself into, turning his vehicle into a moving murder weapon,” the court said.
He failed to stop at traffic lights and made no effort to avoid the crash, either by reducing his speed or using adjacent lanes, it added.