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AG launches criminal probe into teen suicide

AG Costas Clerides

Attorney-general Costas Clerides appointed two independent investigators to look into the circumstances that led to the suicide of a 15-year-old boy in September last year, it was announced on Monday.

A written statement by the state Legal Service said the AG has appointed lawyers Modestos Poyiadji and Andreas Andreou to look into Stylianos Constantinou’s death.

The inquiry should be completed in two months.

It followed a damning report by ombudswoman Maria Lottides who said the police and the social welfare service had failed to recognise the psychological violence the father exerted on Stylianos and the pattern of violent behaviour towards his mother.

The police is already carrying out its own investigation into the affair.

In her report, Lottides said the social welfare officials dealing with the case of the 15-year-old boy showed “utter criminal negligence” and possibly bear criminal responsibility for his death.

Lottides said police officers dealing with the case were also found to bear responsibility for violating police regulations.

She also recommended investigating the boy’s father for criminal offences for using psychological violence on the teen and his siblings and physical violence on the mother.

The probe went as far back as 2007 when concerns were first raised over the family, noting that between 2011 and 2013 when the number of incidents escalated, “the wrong assessments were made” leading to the tragic result.

“From 2013 onwards, there was utter inaction,” the ombudswoman said.

Rejecting the social welfare department’s argument of staff shortages, Lottides said there was “utter criminal negligence” as to the implementation of circulars and manuals that were in effect and periodically updated.

Stylianos was found dead by his father at the family farm in Nicosia district on September 5. The family was reportedly experiencing abject poverty, psychological problems, and domestic violence.

After Stylianos’ death, his two younger siblings were removed from the family home.

Social workers went on a 24-strike in protest against the report, which they claimed, ignored the personnel shortages in the department.

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianides meanwhile rejected opposition calls for her resignation.

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