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New witnesses in Coral Bay trial

Defence attorney in Coral Bay trial calls witness a liar, says Britons were drunk and high on drugs


The Coral Bay trial resumed this week with a new witness giving his account of what took place on 24 June 2018 just before British tourist Robert James Birch was ran down and killed.

(Click here for an update to the story)

According to Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the Paphos Criminal Court held a hearing on Tuesday where Greek national Demetris Iltzidis, a 35-year-old man originally from Georgia, is facing manslaughter and attempted murder charges in connection with a hit-and-run in Peyia, back in June 2018.

The witness said he had told the victim to stay put and that he would go and get his cousin, the pub owner, to handle the situation

The defendant is being accused of slamming his car into two Britons, following an altercation at a local pub in the Coral Bay area, killing instantly 39-year-old Briton Charlie Birch, also known as Charlie, and wounding his 32-year-old friend.

One of the witnesses who took the stand on Tuesday, Kyriacos Demetriades, was the cousin of the pub owner where the altercation took place. Demetriades said that he and his cousin went to the pub on 23 June 2018, where he saw the defendant and his girlfriend sitting at a table close to the dance floor. He also said he spoke with the two Britons, as he was accustomed to chatting with guests at the pub.

According to his testimony, Charlie had told Demetriades that he was ready to punch Iltzidis defendant because he saw the defendant hitting the woman. The witness said he had told the victim not to do anything and that he would go and get his cousin, the pub owner, to handle the situation.

By the time he came back, Demetriades said he saw the defendant on the floor after being knocked down by the victim. The defendant and the two Britons then took it outside and resumed the fight, according to what was said in court on Tuesday.

During the cross examination, defence lawyer Savvas Matsas posed to the witness that Charlie grabbed the defendant’s girlfriend and started dancing. But Demetriades said he had been making the rounds and had not seen them dancing, adding that he would have made nothing of it.

Allegations of alcohol and drugs

The defence attorney also said that his client never addressed the two Britons except for the fact that he was upset over the two bothering his girlfriend. Matsas then called the witness a liar and said the two friends were drunk and high on drugs.

Another witness, local fisherman Andreas Shiampas, told the court that he had his boat anchored in the Ayios Georgios harbour and saw just after 2am a car in the water, with the defendant and his girlfriend inside. He said he went close and offered help but refused to take them to a certain hotel without first police and ambulance arriving on the scene.

The fisherman also said he handed his phone to the defendant, who dialed a number and immediately passed it on to his girlfriend.

The trial is set to resume on June 11 while the defendant is to remain in custody.

According to previous reports, the two Britons were at a bar in Coral Bay in the early morning hours on 24 June 2018, when they saw Iltzidis verbally and physically abusing his 23-year-old girlfriend. Witnesses said the two friends stepped in to protect the woman and ended up getting into a fight with the defendant, who then left the premises.

Iltzidis and his girlfriend got in the car and drove along the Peyia-Ayios Georgios road, where around 2:30am police were notified about two men on foot in Coral Bay being injured in a hit-and-run.

Following the car incident, the vehicle sped away and was later found abandoned in the water at a local harbour in front of eye witnesses, who later told cops they saw the defendant and his girlfriend coming out the vehicle.

The woman was also initially arrested but police later dropped all charges against her. Iltzidis was initially facing premeditated murder in Charlie’s death, but the charges got reduced to manslaughter in January 2019.

Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  Peyia  |  Coral Bay  |  Birch  |  Iltzidis  |  manslaughter  |  Briton  |  UK  |  pub  |  hit and run  |  Ayios Georgios  |  harbour

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