A convicted child molester's sentence has been increased from four to seven years, after he was found guilty on more charges during an appeal hearing in the Supreme Court.
According to local media, the attorney general’s office had appealed the sentence of a 50-year-old Greek Cypriot male, calling it "inadequate" after he was convicted to four years for sexually molesting a young teenage girl who had a case of mild intellectual disability.
The offences took place between June 2016 and May 2017, in the man’s residence, where the teenage girl, also described as Greek Cypriot, was often visiting perpetrator’s children, aged 12 and 18. Reports said the man was married to a cousin of the girl’s mother.
According to court documents, the perpetrator would often seek opportunities to take the girl aside, where he showed her pornographic material on his computer screen while masturbating in front of her.
Counts of sexual assault had been dismissed because a man’s indecent act towards a woman did not constitute sexual assault if no other form of offence was associated with the behaviour
In another instance, the girl was in a swimming pool with the perpetrator, as well as his children and another female friend, when he approached the victim and pulled down her bathing suit, with the girl swimming away to avoid being molested underwater.
The appeals judges agreed with the arguments made by state prosecutors from the attorney general’s office, who said the “abhorrent” and “vulgar” acts were spread over a long period of time, almost an entire year, with the perpetrator taking advantage of the victim’s childhood innocence, her case of mild intellectual disability, a huge age difference, and the fact that the sexual molestation had disturbed the girl’s psychological state which further caused post-traumatic stress.
“The attorney general is not contesting the criminal court’s due diligence over proper legal principles in the case of the defendant, but he is arguing that the gravity of the situation was not properly assessed in that serious offences of a sexual nature against children call for severe punishment to serve as a deterrent, as intended by lawmakers,” the three-judge panel said.
According to the position of the attorney general, the sentence handed down by the Criminal Court in Nicosia was "obviously inadequate and did not correspond to the seriousness of the abhorrent acts against the female minor.”
Two four-year sentences in two separate charges were increased to seven years, to run concurrently, while the Supreme Court also pointed out that the criminal court had dismissed a number of counts of sexual assault after taking a “traditional” approach where a man’s indecent acts towards a woman did not constitute sexual assault if no other form of offence was associated with the behaviour in question.
The Supreme Court did not elaborate on the legal ramifications of the conventional school of thought applied in the case, saying the issue had not been raised by the state.
But the judges said they brought up the issue as food for thought in future cases.