Nicosia criminal court sentenced a 72-year-old man to seven years in jail on Friday for sexually abusing his nine-year-old granddaughter.
He was found guilty by the bench majority of 40 counts relating to indecent assault and sexual abuse of a minor between June 2014 and August 2015.
The girl was nine when the abuse began and there were 20 instances where the offences took place in his bedroom.
The judge, reading out the sentence said the man had displayed “disgusting behaviour” abusing the trust that came with their family relationship and after visits to his house he had become a nightmare for his granddaughter instead of offering joy and family warmth.
He was sentenced to seven years for 20 charges of sexual abuse of a minor and two and a half years for 20 charges of indecent assault. The sentences will run concurrently.
The court said the fact that he did not plead guilty meant his granddaughter had to make statements before the court and thus the judge felt this stripped him of the right to have a more lenient sentence, as is the case when defendants plead guilty.
“It is obvious that the grandfather figure, particularly in Cypriot society, in which under normal circumstances, grandparents have a significant role in the care of their children and grandchildren, express love and care towards them creating a feeling of safety and security.
“In this case, reality was unfortunately very different,” the judge said where the grandfather would find ways to isolate her in his bedroom or even assault her while he lay in bed with her grandmother.
Even more disturbing, the judge said were the incestual games she was made to play with her brother, four years older than her and as a result caused her psychological trauma. The siblings no longer live together.
After the abuse began, the young girl spoke to her mother without giving a full picture of what her grandfather was actually doing, the court heard. Therefore, as her parents did not fully understand, she was doubted and threatened by members of his side of the family.
A few months later, she told her school teacher everything that had happened and had to recount her statements another five times to the school principal, police, a social worker, a clinical psychologist and before the court.
Such cases are on the rise and sentences should reflect the severity of the crime in a bid to dissuade further offences, the judge said reading out the sentence.
The court bore in mind his clean record, personal conditions and age but disregarded his health issues that said they were not of a nature that required special handling.