The case of a high school student, who died last month after he was reportedly bullied into binge drinking, is heading to the attorney general’s office with a lot more information than previously stated.
Panayiotis Stefanis, a 16-year-old student from Larnaca, died last month after he collapsed outside a residence where he attended a birthday party on a Saturday night, April 13.
New information has emerged confirming previous allegations that the teen was a victim of bullying, with a number of videos shot by friends of the victim showing incidents of aggression directed towards Panayiotis. In one case, a number of individuals whose faces were captured in the videos appear to coax Panayiotis into consuming large quantities of alcohol at one go.
Aggressive form of bullying under investigation
Additional videos show individuals pulling the chair away as the teen was about to sit down, with Panayiotis banging the back of his head on the wall. Another video shows someone lighting a paper towel on fire and placing it in the teen’s hand, with the 16-year-old waking up in excruciating pain.
Since bullying is not considered a criminal offence in the Republic of Cyprus, it is not clear whether investigators will draw links between bullying and binge drinking in Panayiotis’ death
CID Larnaca has reportedly spoken with the adult who owns the residence, where the birthday party took place, with the man denying any knowledge that teenagers were drinking that night.
Panayiotis was said to have choked on his own vomit after he collapsed outside the house, while an off-duty cop who was present attempted to resuscitate the boy by giving mouth to mouth but to no avail.
State forensic pathologist Eleni Antoniou, who conducted the post mortem examination, reportedly said she could smell alcohol from the first moment.
Bullying not a criminal offence in Cyprus
Police have gathered witness statements reportedly confirming the presence of alcohol at the party. Laws against alcohol consumption under the legal age also make it illegal for anyone to supply alcohol to minors. However, since bullying is not considered a criminal offence in the Republic of Cyprus, it is not clear whether investigators may consider drawing possible links between binge drinking and bullying in Panayiotis’ death.
Lab test results on tissue samples and toxicology reports are also expected to be included in the report, most possibly handed over to the attorney general by week’s end.