House arrest with an ankle monitor should not count as detention time, the Limassol criminal court said on Thursday in relation to a drugs case.

According to a press release by the Attorney General’s office, the decision came as part of the trial of four persons charged with drug possession with intent to supply.

The lawyer representing one of the defendants requested that his client’s period in house arrest with an ankle monitor be counted as pre-trial detention.

The court, “in agreement with the position of the Attorney General,” rejected the request, referring to both Cypriot and European jurisprudence.

It was pointed out that in Cyprus, house arrest is only recognised for the purposes of imposing a prison sentence, and therefore accepting the defendant’s request would constitute an excess of the court’s authority.

According to the court, “Accepting this position from the defence counsel would be the result of an impermissible, expansive interpretation and application of the law and, by extension, an excess of authority, and not an exercise of primary and broad discretionary power”.

The court handed down prison sentences to all four defendants, who will be serving eight, ten, ten, and seven years.

The first three defendants were convicted after a hearing, while the fourth admitted to his crimes and was subsequently charged.