A Russian man, who is facing life in prison in connection with a fatal highway crash last week, was denied bail on Friday and shall remain behind bars until his arraignment in late March.
According to local media, a 50-year-old Russian driver has been ordered to remain in police custody while waiting for his arraignment in court scheduled for March 31. He was initially arrested for reckless driving but charges were later elevated to manslaughter.
The Russian-born suspect was involved in a brutal highway collision last month where a local driver was killed after his Jeep was rear ended by a speeding crossover SUV. The accident took place on the Nicosia-Limassol highway after midnight, with police saying the SUV driven by the suspect slammed into the vehicle driven by 27-year-old Panayiotis Christoforou, father of one, who was killed instantly.
The defence asked for the suspect's release on bail arguing a prior traffic conviction should not matter, while prosecutors said there was a chance he could commit further offences
Prosecutors requested that the suspect remain behind bars while waiting for trial, arguing that he had no connections to Cyprus and he could flee the country.
The defence raised objection on behalf of their client, who was described as having Cypriot dual nationality, while prosecutors also said that they had information that the suspect was an occasional drinker and that he had a prior traffic conviction, suggesting there was reasonable chance he could commit further offences.
During the hearing, the court also heard that the suspect had a two-year-old child, with his lawyers asking for his release on bail while also arguing that his prior traffic conviction should not be taken into account as their client had paid the fine.
Prosecution points to eye witness testimony
The defence reportedly argued that there was lack of scientific evidence regarding the operation and speed of the suspect’s vehicle, with police prosecutors replying that no scientific report had been completed but authorities had witness statements related to the crash.
Media reports said the suspect had consumed alcohol five times over the limit on the night of the accident, with toxicology reports also showing prescription medicines in his bloodstream.
The judge ordered the suspect to remain behind bars at Nicosia’s Central Prisons until trial proceedings were set to begin on March 31.
In the meantime, local media reported that police have sent a number of auto parts from the SUV to a German auto factory for further tests.
No sign of BMW's black box
A car expert, who reviewed photos of the accident, told Knews the crossover SUV was most likely a BMW X5E70. The particular model and series is equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR), where electronic sensors in the engine can record speed, mechanical issues, use of seatbelts, brakes, and steering wheel movement typically for 30 seconds prior to a crash or similar event.
The EDR can be read by the manufacturer of a vehicle while law enforcement agencies around the world may also have access to the data.
Police said they did not find a black box under the hood of the suspect’s vehicle.