Saying the courts have a responsibility to protect children from abhorrent behaviour, the Supreme Court has upheld a 14-year jail sentence of a man found guilty of sexually abusing a minor, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Friday.
The man had appealed against his jail sentence as too strict. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Criminal Court had been right to consider the age gap between the victim, a girl not yet 15, and the 69-year-old defendant as an aggravating factor when handing down its sentence.
It had also correctly found that the serious sexual offences against the minor had been carried out over an extensive period in a planned and systematic manner.
The Supreme Court said it shared the lower court’s extreme concerns over the surge in such cases and expressed its abhorrence and revulsion.
“We note what is self-evident, when the specific offences are surging, the imposition of even more strict penalties as a deterrent is justified,” it said.
Courts have the responsibility, through the penalties they impose for such offences, always within the framework of the specific nature of each case, to contribute to the protection of children from such unacceptable and hideous acts, it said.
It also found that the lower court had taken into consideration the defendant’s health issues, which it had correctly noted could be dealt with by state services. And it had not ignored his prior clean record or his family circumstances, where it had ruled that personal circumstance cannot play a catalytic role on a sentence in such serious and abhorrent crimes.
“In brief we find that that Criminal Court fairly balanced ever mitigating and aggravating factor and handed down specific sentences on the appellant….these are not manifestly excessive so as to justify the intervention of a second instance court,” it concluded in its decision rejecting the appeal.