Supreme Court: Rejects appeal by convicted drug trafficker

The man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for smuggling large quantities of drugs by mail.

ANOTATO DIKASTIRIO SUPREME COURT, APPEAL, DRUGS

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a person sentenced to 15 years in prison for importing large quantities of drugs by mail.

According to the recently announced decision, the appellate court was found guilty by the Nicosia Criminal Court in a total of 10 charges related to the import of Class A and B drugs, illegal possession of drugs and possession for the purpose of drug supply.

The case concerns the finding in August 2015 by YKAN of 25,89 kilos of cannabis and almost two kilos of cocaine, which were in the possession of one of the persons involved in the case, who in the process became the main prosecution witness (MK22). They were imported from Belgium via Larnaca airport and sent to the Post Office to be delivered to the person who was supposed to be the recipient of the boxes. A Postal Officer was also involved in the case.

The appellant along with the Postal Officer, the later main prosecution witness as well as other unidentified persons, belonged to a well-organized circuit that imported drugs to Cyprus from the Netherlands via Belgium, the court said. The drugs were sent in sealed cardboard boxes by air and after arriving in Cyprus, they were then forwarded to the Prodromos Post Office for distribution to the market. This circuit operated from October or November 2014 until August 27, 2015, the date when MK22 was arrested on the spot in possession of drugs.

The appellant, who was in the Netherlands at the time, was the person who instructed MK22 to whom he would deliver drugs. In addition, he collected money from buyers, sent the necessary amounts for the quantities of drugs that would be bought abroad and would be sent to Cyprus and distributed the profits to the members of the circuit. He was arrested in the Netherlands and handed over to the Cypriot authorities at the end of December 2016, but the same did not happen to the person in charge of the spiral, who was known as 'Kalamaras'.

Among the grounds that the appellant argued against his conviction were issues of violation of the principle of Equality of Arms, as well as of Fair Trial, and in particular the refusal of MK22 to answer questions and the position of the Court in relation to this issue. In particular, it was claimed that the refusal of MK22 to reveal the name of 'Kalamaras', some of the drug recipients mentioned, as well as the name of the company of 'Proti Metaforiki', exactly violates the above principles.

According to the Court, his name was not revealed due to the fear that MK22 expressed for the life of himself and his family, referring to the placement of a grenade in his mother's house to prove that his fears were real.

The Court of First Instance added that MK22 had not refused to answer questions about the substance of the case, but had refused to reveal the name of 'Kalamaras' - meaning a person of international drug trafficking - because he considered him ruthless. On this basis, the Court of First Instance allowed the witness not to disclose the names, emphasizing, at the same time, that the specific nomenclature did not affect the Defense in any way, the decision stated.

The appeal was also based, inter alia, on the destruction of MK22's telephone following his testimony following a fire that broke out in the Court, which was, as argued by the appellant, an important presumption for the Defense and "violated his right to a fair trial after the principle of Equality of Arms was violated ".

The Court, however, found that the Prosecution did not rely on the content of this presumption to advance its case but on the testimony of MK22, whom the Defense had the opportunity to examine extensively as well as other factual testimony.

The appeal also referred to the fact that MK22, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison, was released after a presidential pardon, which was signed on November 25, 2019 and his prison sentence was suspended for a period of four years, arguing that the appellant did not have a fair trial compensation and / or immunity to the key prosecution witness.

According to the Court decision, the fact that a witness is released early does not imply that his testimony was "contaminated". He added that the reasons why he benefited from the presidential pardon with the consent of the Attorney General are not subject to judicial review.

Rejection of the appeal of the Attorney General

The Court, meanwhile, dismissed an appeal by the Advocate General against the sentences imposed by the Court of First Instance, as it imposed on the defendant the same prison sentence imposed on his accomplice, although the latter was convicted on the above-mentioned case. quantities of drugs. According to the appeal, the Court of First Instance should have imposed a sentence of more than 15 years on the defendant, pursuant to the equal treatment of offenders and the case-law on the moderate importance of admission.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Advocate General's complaint was not that the sentences imposed on the defendant were manifestly inadequate, but that they should be higher than those imposed on the defendants who had been convicted. There is, however, no case law that welcomes the increase of a sentence that is not manifestly insufficient to be consistent with a sentence imposed on another, the decision states.