Police chief Kypros Michaelides said on Wednesday he will support the 15 officers who are facing prosecution over the handling of the Metaxas serial killing case, on the basis that they are innocent until proven guilty.
“Support for our members is a given, because regardless of whether they are going through this particular ordeal, they are still innocent,” Michaelides said on Wednesday.
He added that this is the situation until their case is heard in court and a final decision is made.
The police officers involved in the case will remain in their current positions on the presumption of innocence, he said, “and we must as a leadership stand by them”.
The 15 officers will soon be summoned by the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints Against the Police (IAIACAP) and give statements.
The case will then be taken to court for trial.
Last week, the IAIACAP’s report was reviewed by Attorney-general Costas Clerides’ office.
In an announcement from his office, it was said that apart from any disciplinary offences committed by members of the police force, there were grounds to suspect that criminal offences had been committed by the failure of public officials to perform their duties.
The 35-year-old army officer, Nicos Metaxas, killed five women and two children over a period of two years. The killings emerged in April 2019, after the body of one of the women was found in a mine shaft at Mitsero. By June last year, police had recovered the remainder of the victims at the mine, in a nearby lake, in a field near a firing range, and at another lake some kilometres away.
Police received heavy criticism for allegedly mishandling the cases of the women and the two girls when they were reported missing by friends and families, and not treating the disappearances seriously.