Former retail businessman Christos Orphanides is to serve the full six years in jail handed down to him after having been found guilty on multiple counts of issuing bad cheques.
The supreme court recently dismissed more than 110 appeals filed by Orphanides, and upheld the previous sentences imposed by criminal courts.
In its judgment, the supreme court said the criminal cases concerned dozens of cases of cheques that bounced which, according to the defendant’s own admission, were to the tune of €30m of which €20m is still unpaid.
Previously, in separate cases Orphanides had been sentenced to 28 months and 30 months imprisonment. Also, in September 2017 he had been sentenced to 14 months in jail, for an aggregate time served of 72 months.
The sentences ran sequentially.
Orphanides, 67, boss of the eponymous supermarket chain, then appealed the sentences on the grounds that they were excessive and that, being sequential, they violated the totality principle.
The totality principle applies when a court imposes multiple sentences and imprisonment. It ‘requires a judge who is sentencing an offender for a number of offences to ensure that the aggregation of the sentences appropriate for each offence is a just and appropriate measure of the total criminality involved.’
The supreme court rejected both these grounds. In its decision, it stressed the “serious criminal activity of the appellant [Orphanides] and the grave consequences on his multiple counterparties, on transactions and on the market.
“Under the circumstances,” the court said, “it is our view that under the especially severe circumstances of the case, overturning the sequential sentences would neutralise the desired deterrence and communicate the opposite message, namely that crime does pay.”
Dozens of suppliers sued Orphanides for issuing them bad cheques.
At its height, the supermarket chain operated 29 outlets plus three shopping malls in Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos.
The business began unravelling in late 2012.