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Cyprus

Supreme court increases sentence for child molester

The supreme court on Thursday overturned an 18-month prison sentence given to a child molester by the Paphos Criminal Court and condemned him to three years behind bars.
The case concerns a 36-year-old man from Paphos who had been sentenced in February to 18 months in prison for sexually harassing a six-year-old girl.
The man had pleaded guilty in November 2016.
He was arrested last October, following a complaint filed by the girl’s parents after she told them that she had been sexually molested by him during a visit to his house a few days earlier.
The decision was appealed by the state, which argued that it was a blatantly inadequate sentence and that the court had improperly enforced the principles of case law.
The Paphos criminal court also failed to take into consideration the change in the legal framework which raised the maximum penalty for such crimes to life in jail.
In its decision, the supreme court said the maximum penalty for such offences was life in jail and there was a pressing need for a general deterrent to curtail the upsurge in such crimes.
Without the defendant’s admission and his personal problems, the sentence would have been much higher, the court said.
The court highlighted the need for strict sentences in such cases since children had to be protected. That was why the law was changed to provide for life in jail as the maximum sentence in cases where the child is under 13, the court added.
“This relates to the victim’s respective inability to protect themselves from the sexual appetites of individuals, particularly those in the close environment, and the inherent difficulty of voicing a complaint regarding such traumatic experience,” the court said.
Because of her age, the victim was easy prey to people like the defendant, the court said.
The criminal court, despite grasping the seriousness of the offence, as well as the need to impose a deterring sentence, had failed to realise this objective by opting for an 18-month sentence.
In its view, the court said, the appellate court’s intervention was necessary because it was a manifestly inadequate sentence.
It was crucial that the sentence imposed by the court of first instance reflected the need to protect underage victims from prospective offenders given the worrying rise of such crimes, the court said.

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