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Friday, March 31, 2023

Fingers crossed at Supreme Prosecutor-Unequal treatment of drug dealers

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Κουνησε το δακ&tau ;υλο σε Εισαγγελeα το Ανoτατο-Άνι ση μεταχεΙριση εμπoρων ναρκωτι κoν

Messages are sent to the Prosecuting Authorities and the General Prosecutor's Office, the decision of the Supreme Court which refers to the unequal treatment of two defendants for trafficking a huge amount of drugs, one of whom fell to the bottom and then, after joining the YCAN witness program, his sentence was suspended by the Legal Service, despite the fact that, as the Prosecuting Authority itself stated before the Court, he had the same and equally serious involvement as his co-accused.  

It is for this reason that, through its decision, the Supreme Court emphasizes that “the competent authorities of the State must bring all offenders before the independent judicial authorities. This is dictated by the principle of equal treatment of offenders”, while he did not fail to point out that the accused, who was granted “immunity” by the Attorney General, initially faced a sentence of up to life in prison, however in the end he faced charges with a maximum sentence of seven years .

This is the high-profile case with the 628 kilograms of drugs (MDMA) that were exported from Cyprus to Australia in bundles in June 2020 and were found in containers, with one of the two, 32 years old, joining the witness program of YKAN, in order to testify against the second defendant, 59 years old. As a “reward”, the 32-year-old was acquitted of four counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, export of an uncontrolled class A drug, unlawful possession of drugs and unlawful possession with intent to supply, and was given a four-year sentence only for conspiracy. 

Two months later, after the conviction of the 59-year-old, the Legal Service, following an agreement the defendant had made with YKAN in 2021, suspended his sentence before it was even completed. It is noted that in a statement, the Legal Service, after the conviction of the 59-year-old, stated that “it was a large operation of importing and exporting a huge amount of narcotics, where Cyprus was the transit station for the traffickers and the accused had contributed to the achievement of the purpose of the whole enterprise, with special reference to be made by the Court, to its role within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus”.

However, the unequal treatment of the accused by the authorities themselves who were talking about a huge amount of drugs and the case was characterized as unprecedented, resulted in the Supreme not only reducing by five years the 23-year sentence imposed on the 59-year-old , so as to “mitigate the feeling of injustice”, but to point the finger at the Attorney General for the way in which the defendants were treated in such a serious case. 

Point the finger at the Attorney General Supreme

Given the unequal treatment of the accused, the defense of the 59-year-old, who was represented by Andros Pelecanos with Haris Georgiou and Katerina Theodoulou for Pelekanos & Pelekanou DEPE, appealed to the Supreme Court, with the same defensive line it had during its final purchases  before the Criminal Court, which, however, did not take into account the suspended sentence of an accused, whose role did not differ from that of the convicted. 

It was the position of Mr. Pelekanos, before the Supreme Court, that the Criminal Court incorrectly did not take into account “the favorable treatment received by his 59-year-old co-accused with the suspension of all the charges he was initially facing, by the General Prosecutor , replacing them with the charge of conspiracy to commit the felony of exporting a Class A controlled drug, while undoubtedly had an equally important and substantial role in the commission of the offences”.  

In fact, the Supreme Court in its decision emphasizes that the lawyer of the Legal Service, Chr. Kythraiotou, “boldly and without twists, stated that both Defendants had the same significant involvement in the entire illegal drug possession and export business”, saying characteristically that “we do not dispute and it has not been disputed and first of all that the former co-accused 2 had an equally important involvement in the whole operation just like Efesion”. He also admitted that in the decision of the Court of Appeals it is recorded that “there is no equally similar involvement of the two accused”.

With based on the above, the Supreme Court stated that it applauds the objective stance of the Republic's lawyer, at the same time criticizing the Attorney General, saying that “it is also in line with the appropriate way that the Attorney General should deal with the cases” . 

He was facing life in prison, eventually… his sentence was suspended

Commenting on what Mr. Pelekanos argued in his speech, regarding unequal treatment, the Supreme Court stated that the competent State authorities must bring all offenders before the independent judicial authorities, as this is dictated by the principle of equality. treatment of offenders.

“The suspension of criminal prosecution is an exercise of the power of the Attorney General, constitutionally protected. The exercise of his powers based on Article 113.2 of the Constitution, is not subject to judicial review. However, as it was repeated in the Attorney General v. Loizou et al. (2000) 2 AAA 371, 381: “…suspension of criminal prosecution concerns the treatment of offenders and is therefore taken into account in determining the punishment of those who are co-accused with the persons whose prosecution is stayed. The jurisprudence on the subject is analyzed and the principles arising from it are explained in our recent decision in Dimitriou v. Democracy (1999) 2 A.A.D. 141. In the same decision it is underlined that, “The principle of equality, as established in Article 28 of the Constitution, is universal. Equality and equality are the quintessence of Justice. The selective treatment of offenders weakens the law and circumvents the rule of law”. 

In its decision, the Supreme Court, based on what was brought before it, emphasizes that the role of the co-accused in the entire illegal activity did not differ from the role of the 59-year-old, judging that the report to the contrary by the Criminal Court was incorrect.  

“All the charges the co-accused was facing were suspended against him and he was acquitted of them. And where he faced a charge of possessing an extremely large quantity of Class A drugs with the intention of supplying them to third parties and a charge of exporting them from the Republic of Cyprus, offenses for which the law provides for a life sentence, he ended up facing a less serious charge that related only to conspiracy to commit the offense of exporting drugs, an offense for which the law provides for a maximum prison sentence of 7 years. We also note that there was never any question of changing the position of the Prosecuting Authority regarding the probative value of the evidence she possessed in relation to the co-accused, nor had new evidence come to light which overturned the initial serious charges that the co-accused was facing.”

< p>Based on the above, the Supreme Court agreed with what the defense of the convicted person said if equal treatment and therefore reduced the 59-year-old's sentence by five years, saying that “our intervention to reduce the imposed sentences is justified, only to mitigate the feeling of injustice caused by the unequal treatment of the two offenders due to of the suspension of criminal prosecution against one”.

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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