Developers escape jail sentence in assault case

Cyprus Mail front page 16 January 2008

THE property developers convicted last week of assaulting a British expat escaped jail yesterday after the presiding judge handed down a 10 month suspended prison sentence for two of them and issued the third a €3,000 fine.

Christoforos Karayiannas, 55, and his son Marios Karayiannas, 35, received the jail sentences suspended for two years while their associate Charalambous Ttigis, 31, who allegedly pinned down Conor O’Dwyer during the assault in 2007, received a €3,000 fine.

They were found guilty of actual bodily harm (ABH) against O’Dwyer, who said yesterday “I am absolutely shocked and disgusted. This trial was 100 per cent worse than the assault. It seems that in two years of hearings the judge has lost sight of who the victim was.”

O’Dwyer’s lawyer in two other cases that he has against the Karayiannas’, Yiannos Georgiades, also expressed his surprise at yesterday’s decision. He told the Cyprus Mail “I’m quite shocked. In other cases… where three men have assaulted one vulnerable man… the assaulter has ended up in prison.”

He also questioned the judge’s decision to reduce the conviction from grievous bodily harm (GBH) to ABH, and from a custodial to a suspended sentence.

The sentences follow an equally lenient sentence handed down to Christoforos Karayiannas for crashing into O’Dwyer’s car during the incident in 2007. He received a mere two penalty points on his driving licence. Had he been given three he would have lost his licence.

During the trial, the court heard how the men rammed O’Dwyer’s rental car at a busy junction in the eastern village of Frenaros, he was then subjected to a savage beating, including having his head stamped on – the attack left him in hospital for a week.

The controversy between the two parties began five years ago when O’Dwyer claimed he purchased a house in Frenaros that was then resold without his knowledge by the developers.

An emotional O’Dwyer said he was in a state of shock at hearing the result, having spent years protesting and campaigning to have his case heard. “So far all I have gained is two points on (Karayiannas’) licence and a suspended sentence”.

The civil case against the Karayiannas’, which will examine a dispute over the termination of the contract between the O’Dwyer and the developers, is due to begin on Friday.

A second private criminal prosecution case is already underway, for the alleged double sale of O’Dwyer’s house. At the same time, Georgiades said, the Attorney General is also bringing a case against O’Dwyer for the content of his website.

By: Patrick Dewhurst
Published: November 4th, 2010
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008