A private attorney who was convicted in a case of fraud and deception has been sentenced to four months for violating ethics and forging the signature of the state’s attorney general.
The case dates back to July 2014 when a 39-year-old licenced attorney in Paphos walked into a police station to surrender himself to authorities. A month earlier, he told the cops, he had forged the attorney general’s signature in a case that was about to be archived, while it was never clarified whether the forgery had been caught by the clerks who handled the documents.
A Paphos district judge sentenced the lawyer on Thursday to four months on four different charges relating to forgery and circulation of forged documents. All four sentences will run concurrently.
'This action involved deceit and it is imprudent for an attorney-at-law to exploit the law'
The attorney was approached in 2012 by a private citizen who wanted to file a lawsuit against the Republic of Cyprus over social benefits. The lawyer filed the paperwork with the Paphos District Court but a year later the case was duly dismissed citing a failure on the part of the lawyer to serve the summons correctly.
As the case was then being prepared to be archived, the attorney took it upon himself to file a report with police alleging his own crime.
According to media, the lawyer had written the fake letter, which would have been seen by a judge in a court of law, in which he forged the attorney general’s signature saying his client was to receive €5.5 million in damages. The lawyer also reportedly had told his client that he was a close friend of the attorney general.
The judge who handed down the sentence said attorneys should not be abusing the laws of the state.
“This action involved deceit and it is imprudent for an attorney-at-law to exploit the law,” the judge said.
The lawyer will serve his sentence at Nicosia Central Prisons. A response from the Cyprus Bar Association was not immediately available.