A man in Cyprus convicted of sexually molesting a young girl with a mental illness had his sentence quadrupled by the Supreme Court, which said the act without removing her clothes and other mitigating circumstances did not justify lenience shown by a lower court.
Local media this week said a man in his late forties had been sentenced to six months by a district court on molestation charges, with state prosecutors from the Legal Services Department appealing the decision saying it was inadequate.
Back in 2017, according to details in the case, the defendant described as a family friend visited the residence of a single mother late at night, after midnight, when the door was answered by her 11-year-old daughter.
Prosecutors said the mother was sleeping upstairs when the man sat on the sofa and asked the girl, who had a mental illness, if she wanted to kiss him in the mouth. The child reportedly refused initially but later sat next to him where she got molested through clothing.
Prosecutors said the mother was sleeping upstairs when the man sat on the sofa and asked the girl, who had a mental illness, if she wanted to kiss him in the mouth
The man denied the charges during a criminal hearing four years after the incident, with a trial in court moving forward and the young girl testifying against him.
A panel of criminal judges found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to six months, citing mitigating circumstances such as being an isolated incident without premeditation, being a first-time offender, lack of violence or prolonged coercion, as well as the act itself taking place without removing any clothes.
But the attorney’s office filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, saying the nature of the offense was not reflected in the sentencing and arguing mitigating circumstances were wrongly factored in more heavily than the need for a sentence to act as a deterrent.
The bench sided with the prosecutor and increased the prison sentence to two years, saying the defendant sexually assaulted a fatherless young child with a mental illness while also totally disregarding the sanctity of her home.
“Even though he did not take things further, he still failed to stop when the little girl refused at the beginning by raising her arms to block his advances,” the bench said, adding that the defendant stopped when the girl got up and went to wake up her mother.
The bench also said the defendant showed no remorse and his not guilty plea meant that the girl had to go through a trial, while noting his non-guilty plea ought not to be used against him.
“Had he shown any remorse and apologized to the court and the child, there could have been some lenience,” the Supreme Court concluded.