THERE was jubilation last night amongst supporters of British property buyer Conor O’Dwyer as a developer from Paralimni, his son and an associate were convicted of assault and actual body harm.
In a surprise outcome after hours of summation, Judge Evi Antoniou at Famagusta District Court ordered the three men into police custody pending mitigation and sentencing next Monday.
The case, which has been in court for several years, came after O’Dwyer reported being beaten up following an incident outside a disputed house in early 2007.
The father-of-two was forced to travel to Cyprus on more than seven occasions to be present at court hearings, only to be faced with a series of obstacles and adjournments.
O’Dwyer’s lawyer, Yiannos Georgiaides, said he was pleased with the outcome, but also noted that there was a feeling of disappointment that the charges had been downgraded from grievous bodily harm to actual bodily harm – which carry more lenient custodial sentences of up to five years.
“At least these people have been found guilty of his assault. I think justice has been done and we now have to wait for the sentencing,” he said.
Those convicted of actual bodily harm are also subject to a custodial sentence, but the Cyprus Mail understands that the prosecution legal team is now considering an appeal to have the charges upgraded to GBH.
“It’s a good result, now we wait,” Georgiaides added.
British national television network ITV has also been following the story and were on hand to film yesterday’s events – for a programme which will be broadcast to millions of viewers next year.
The case has been a hot topic of conversation for the past two years, with some legal commentators expressing bewilderment that an assault case should have dragged on for so long.
O’Dwyer spent a week in Larnaca General Hospital after the attack and said the incident blighted his family life.
The controversy between the two parties began five years ago when O’Dwyer claimed he purchased a house in Frenaros that was then resold without his knowledge by the developers.
The developers dismissed the accusations and accused O’Dwyer of attempting to extort a more expensive house from them – a charge that O’Dwyer flatly denies.
He claims the spat resulted in him losing the house and £100,000 he had paid for the property.
Last month O’Dwyer gained international attention when he held a four-day peaceful protest outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, spending two nights sleeping just yards from the main entrance to publicise his lengthy legal battle.
Video clips of O’Dwyer’s plight, posted online, have caused outrage amongst many home-owners, who demanded to know why the dispute was not quickly settled in court.
He widely publicised the details of his property dispute with the developers on YouTube and on the website lyingbuilder.com. However, since the beginning of the court case he ceased posting updates.
Developers have been twitchy about the long-running saga, which has been reported worldwide and is said to have caused “untold damage” to the local real estate industry according to commentators.
By Nathan Morley Published on October 28, 2010
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