The supreme court has ruled against a 60-year-old appealing a prison sentence imposed on him for causing the death of a young man in a traffic accident in Limassol in January 2019.
Earlier this year, Limassol district court had found the defendant guilty of reckless behaviour, leading to the death of Antonis Demetriou. The victim, aged 36, left behind a wife and two young children.
The lower court had sentenced the defendant to 18 months in jail, stripped him of his driver’s licence for two years, and imposed eight penalty points on his licence.
The defendant subsequently appealed that decision at the supreme court, arguing that the sentence was excessive – particularly regarding the prison time as well as that the lower court could have suspended the time to be served in prison.
In his appeal, the defendant argued that the district court had treated him unfairly by disregarding mitigating factors such as that he had freely admitted to his error, felt remorse, and had helped out the victim’s family financially – for example he gave Demetriou’s widow €25,000 to help with her children’s tuition.
All things considered, the defendant’s attorney said, the court should have instead issued a fine and left it at that.
But the supreme court disagreed, rejecting the appeal in its entirety and upholding the lower court’s decision.
In its judgment issued last week, the supreme court reiterated that the defendant had made an illegal right turn, which led to his car colliding with Demetriou’s oncoming motorcycle.
It said the defendant had made the right turn “blindly,” with no care or consideration for oncoming traffic. The supreme court also rejected the argument that leniency should be shown to the defendant because his actions constituted a “momentary lapse.”
Noting that each case should be judged on its own particulars and merits, the supreme court said that sometimes tough penalties are necessary as a deterrent.
Referring to deadly traffic accidents as a “scourge,” the court noted that “unfortunately… people’s driving behaviour has not improved over the years.”
The case has received media attention beyond the court proceedings, with Demetriou’s father campaigning for a traffic island to be built at the spot to put an end to dangerous right turns.