Limassol criminal court on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old man to five years in jail after finding him guilty in the manslaughter of Christakis Siakou in Moni in July.

The defendant had hit the 58-year-old victim with his car after a heated dispute over a drug deal, in front of the victim’s son, aged 28.

The court said that the defendant had not caused the death with an illegal action, but as a result of culpable negligence.

The defendant had gone to the area to buy drugs from the victim and his son for €180.

But instead of drugs, he was given salt from the Himalayas. On realising that he had been duped, he got out of his car to claim his money back.

When the victim’s son refused, there was a scuffle.

The defendant managed to get his money and climbed into his car to drive away but was prevented from doing so by the victim and his son.

The victim would not let go of the open car door, while his right foot was outside the door, leading to injuries from the shutting of the door.

After managing to close the car door, the defendant saw the victim move towards the front of the vehicle, though he did not know where exactly he was standing as it was dark and the car’s headlights were off.

“The defendant failed to check the road and where the victim was, hoping he would manage to get away,” the court said.

And it added: “He started his vehicle, stepped on the gas pedal all the way down and as a result hit the victim and caused his death.”

The court noted the seriousness of the offence, noting that this is reflected not only in the penalty provided by law but the sad recognition that in the past few years the number of road fatalities had taken on worrying dimensions.

This underlined the need for the penalty to serve as a deterrent, as the justice system needs to be an active participant in the daily struggle to address road fatalities, it added,

In mitigation, the court took into consideration the immediate admission of the defendant, his clean record, his cooperation with police, his personal and family circumstances, and the pressure that led him to his negligent actions.