Supreme court hears British man’s appeal in lengthy property dispute

Conor O’Dwyer, a British man who has been involved in a lengthy and exhausting court battle over a property he bought in the Famagusta district in 2005, presented his appeal to the supreme court in Nicosia on Friday morning.

O’Dwyer appealed the case filed by developer company Christoforos Karayiannas and Son Ltd, who accused him of breach of contract and of defamation.

The appeal alone has taken nearly eight years to be heard, having been filed in 2012.

According to O’Dwyer, after having already paid €113,000 for the property, the developer decided to sell his house to another British family at a higher price.

O’Dwyer claimed not only was the original sale to him registered with the land registry department, but the developer also kept the money he had paid.

O'Dwyer claimed he was also assaulted by the two directors of the company in 2006 and in 2008 and pressed charges.

Christoforos and Marios Karayiannas walked free for the first assault after the prosecutor failed to call O’Dwyer to court and the case was discontinued in his absence. The former attorney-general Petros Clerides refused to refile the case.

The developers and their employee were then found guilty for the second assault, but were given a suspended sentence, after a two-year court battle.

The developers then sued O’Dwyer for breach of contract and defamation after he published his story on his blog and called the developers “liars”.

O’Dwyer and his lawyers made a counterclaim for breach of contract.

The judge at Larnaca district court ruled that O’Dwyer had not breached any contract and that Karayiannas had unlawfully cancelled it and retained his money. It was also ruled that the house was sold again without his knowledge. However, the court failed to award him any damages.

In addition to that, despite the verdict agreeing that Karayiannas’ breach of contract claim was untrue, the court went on to fine O’Dwyer a national record for defamation of €50,000.

O’Dwyer then launched an appeal in 2102 which was finally heard by the supreme court on Friday. No date has been set for the verdict.

“We will patiently wait for the judges’ verdict, like we did throughout the past years,” O’Dwyer’s lawyer Yiannos Georgiades told the Cyprus Mail after they left the court.

“We have strong grounds for our appeal and we made our voices heard today. Conor deserves justice.”

Georgiades stressed that O’Dwyer’s freedom of speech was not respected when the judge found him guilty of defamation.

After Friday’s hearing, former High Commissioner of Cyprus to the UK Euripides Evriviades also showed his support for O’Dwyer’s by tweeting on his official Twitter profile.

“Good luck Conor,” the tweet said. “(I am) with you in spirit. Hope and pray that all works out. Remember vividly our meeting in London. I have the greatest respect for you and for anyone who relentlessly pursues his or her rights within the law and due process.”

Since 2005 O’Dwyer has become active in various groups advising Britons not to buy properties in Cyprus. In March 2019 he organised a protest outside a major property exhibition in London and warned about purchasing houses on the island.
In November the British government upheld its advice of exercising “extreme caution” when buying a property in Cyprus if the title deeds are not readily available.

Jonathan Shkurko | Cyprus Mail | January 24, 2020

See the original article on the Cyprus Mail for comments from the expat community.