Two men received fines of €600 in a case linked to the violence which erupted in Chlorakas in late August after police found them in possession of weapons.
The two defendants, both Greek Cypriots – aged 19 and 23 – were arrested soon after violence erupted in the Paphos village in incidents which were condemned as violent attacks against migrants.
But their defence lawyer argued that the two men – of a total 17 arrested and facing trial in the Chlorakas case – were not linked to the violent attacks.
The judge on Thursday warned both that their sentences serve as a second chance, particularly for the 23-year-old who received a six-month sentence – suspended for three years.
That, the judge said, acts as a “sword of Democles” and the young man should be extremely careful.
The 23-year-old plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, carrying weapons, incitement to terror, and other related charges.
The court heard that the two arrested were stopped on separate nights on August 28 and 29 by police while driving in a street adjacent to where incidents had unfolded and were found to be in possession of a baseball club, a knuckle buster, and a flip knife with a 10.5cm blade.
The defence took the position that the arrestees were not involved in any way in the incidents – as they were incidentally in the area – and that there was neither witness evidence implicating them, nor any specific accusation lodged against them. No witnesses were involved in the hearing.
Therefore, the defence argued, any charges brought against them should be distanced from the incidents on the specific nights.
They further argued that the charge to which they had immediately admitted prior to their arrests – that is possession and transport of offensive weapons – should be tried without reference to the racial or other altercations that took place in the community.
The judge also heard that the knife, referred to as a fishing knife, belonged to the late father of one of the defendants, and was one he always carried in his pocket, with no deliberate intent to disguise it.
The 19-year-old’s defence lawyer argued that his client had a bat with him as he is a soldier.
No evidence had been brought against the two men which implicated them in any of the property damages or fires that were set on the nights, the defence told the court.
Neither was there evidence of them carrying the weapons for the purpose of inciting terror, the lawyer argued.
The defence moreover claimed that the two men had already been remanded in custody for eight days and that this ought to count towards ameliorating their sentence.
The young age of the defendants, their clean police record, and their good conduct prior, during and after arrest, should be taken into account, as well as the fact that the 19-year-old was serving in the army and the 23-year-old registered for studies in a shipping school in Athens, the defence argued, and any harsher sentencing would not “fulfil its purpose”.
The judge agreed.
For eleven of the arrestees remaining from a total of 17, the judge rescheduled the hearings to November 21. Four others, all Syrian, were given four days to provide missing contact details with a caution that failure to do so could impact on their asylum applications.
All 17 of those originally arrested -eight Greek Cypriots, eight Syrians and one Greek- had been released, on September 20 following their initial court appearance, some with conditions.
Four of the defendants admitted to the charges brought against them. As reported in the court, the majority asked for more time to answer to the charges they were facing, with some admitting to them and some not.
Fourteen defendants were released with conditions, such as signing a guarantee of €15,000 and an obligation to appear three times a month at the central police station.
The other three, the national guard soldier and two students, had been released without conditions.
The court stated that the representative of the prosecuting authority, who first took over the case, was not in a position to present facts and therefore the court granted further time.
The offenses most face are disorderly conduct and illegal possession of offensive instruments.