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‘Terrifying increase’ in drug use in Cyprus

drugs supreme court

There is a “terrifying increase” in drug use in Cyprus, bringing about impoverishment of the public, the Supreme Court said on Friday rejecting two appeals for leniency in prison sentencing for drug-related cases.

Rejecting the appeals to reduce the jail time, the Supreme Court said the strict sentences imposed in courts “do not appear to deter crimes that concern drugs”.

The first case concerns a 45-year-old man who was jailed for 10 years after was found with 854.26 grams of cocaine on May 16, 2020 in Limassol.

“The criminal court aptly found this to be a large quantity,” the Supreme Court said.

The appellant had admitted to all charges, including legalising funds obtained from illegal activities for which he was sentenced to four years. His sentences ran concurrently.

In assessing his appeal, the Supreme Court said the man intended to supply a class A drug, which can carry a life sentence.

Though his personal circumstances were taken into consideration, these carry less weight in drug cases because the court has deterrence as a priority, it added.

His jail time was not deemed excessive.

The second case concerns a man caught at Larnaca airport with 24.939kg of cannabis in his suitcase. His concurrent sentences amounted to 13 years in prison, for which he pled guilty to all charges including intent to supply.

He was arrested April 12, 2021 coming from a flight from Athens where a customs officer had the suitcase passed through the X-ray machine and noticed a number of similar packages.

The officer asked the appellant to open the suitcase but he said it was not his and he did not have the keys. The officer broke the lock and found 128 airtight and sealed bags of cannabis. The man said “I brought them for someone else” and was arrested on the spot.

The Supreme Court said the initial sentence was not excessive. “This was an important find of a very large quantity of drugs, for which had they not been caught at the airport, would have been distributed in the market with catastrophic consequences for users and broader society.”

 

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