President Christophias has again undermined the efforts of those trying to promote road safety in Cyprus.
He has pardoned a former MP who owes €900 in traffic fines and has points on his licence for speeding. His reasoning is that the former DISY MP Andreas Themistocleous, is exempt from prosecution by the constitution.
This however is disputed by many but supported by his appointee the Attorney General Petros Clerides. Instead of allowing the court to make the decision he has taken it upon himself.
This is not the first time the pair have undermined road safety efforts. In July 2008 the President pardoned a colleague Emily Lemoniati, a Paphos lawyer who was caught driving while already disqualified for serous traffic offences and was sentence to 30 days prison. On that occasion he refused to make any attempt to give reasoning or justify his decision saying, “I do not have to give the reasons behind my decision.” which in its self more than hints at partiality rather than the rule of law.
The Attorney General was instrumental in that decision as well. One wonders exactly what his job description is. He does not seem to be upholding the law in a fair, equal and unbiased way.
Failing to treat all people equally for traffic offences sends totally the wrong road safety message to the general public.
It also calls into serious question the Presidents’ and the Attorney Generals’ commitment to reducing road deaths and casualties in Cyprus.
If it held by a court that MPs are exempt prosecution for traffic offences then the anomaly should be rectified immediately. Any decisions and reasoning where exemptions are made regarding certain traffic laws should be transparent and available to public scrutiny.
In 2008 President Christofias made the decision to pardon Emily Lemoniati a Paphos criminal lawyer, that is a lawyer who is a criminal, not a lawyer practicing criminal law, who was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment for serious driving offences. This apparently on the petition of the Paphos Lawyers Association and on the advice of his Attorney-general. Stating the obvious: all are Lawyers.
The lawyer, who had a string of traffic convictions, was banned from driving and had been caught speeding again by police. This meant meant she also had no insurance cover.
This case should have shown that the Government meant what it said, and that it was committed to improving road safety, reducing casualties and that no one was above the law.
This turned out not to be the case, in fact the reverse was proved.
To cap it all both the President and his Attorney-general in their arrogance refused to state the reasons for the pardon.
Just because she is a lawyer and is above the law then!
We are left believing certain sections of the community are above the law and the road safety campaign takes a huge setback.
In the field of Road Safety Christofias’ Government has not excelled:
Traffic collision fatalities in Cyprus are almost the highest in Europe. Strong leadership is required to coordinate the various Government departments to save lives and reduce injuries.