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Cyprus

Court hearing opens into allegation of indecent assault against ex-bishop

Larnaca district court

The hearing of former bishop of Kition Chrysostomos’ case in which he is accused of indecent assault against a minor started on Monday before Larnaca district court, several months after he was acquitted of rape in a separate case.

Cyprus News Agency reported the case examiner testified on Monday, followed by a cross-examination by the former bishop’s defence lawyer on issues that were not investigated by the police.

The lawyer for the former bishop of Kition told the court that he reserved his right to raise the issue of violation of the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time, since, he argued, 41 years have passed since the day of the alleged offence.

The case concerns indecent assault of an underage woman that was allegedly committed in November 1981. The plaintiff was 16 at the time.

The prelate’s lawyer told the court that important witnesses in the case have passed away while other testimony has been lost and claimed that there was “incomplete investigation of the case by the police”.

The court set the next hearings for the case on May 23 and 30, when the complainant’s testimony will be heard and cross-examined by the prelate’s defence counsel.

Bishop Chrysostomos, back on September 23, 2021, pleaded not guilty to the charge of indecent assault against the plaintiff.

A month later, on 22 October 2021, the Larnaca-Famagusta criminal court acquitted the 83-year-old of rape in a separate case, arguing the plaintiff’s testimony was unreliable.

The court had said the prosecution’s case was based on the plaintiff’s testimony which was rejected by the court as it was found to have “many contradictions, lies and erratic allegations in essential, main and key points”.

The offence had allegedly taken place in April 2011 in his office in Larnaca. The woman alleged the bishop had offered her an alcoholic beverage before raping her.

Following his acquittal, Chrysostomos told the media he felt “vindicated” and that “justice has prevailed”.

 

 

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