COURT proceedings on the first day of the high profile Conor O’Dwyer assault case were adjourned yesterday after defence lawyers expressed concerns that the hearing was being secretly tape-recorded.
In a bizarre twist to the ongoing saga, the entire gallery at Famagusta District Court was ordered out of the chamber and told by Judge Evi Antoniou to “take mobile phones, recording devices, micro cameras or any surveillance equipment to their cars and then return.”
The move came just moments after the session started, when defence lawyers expressed their serious concerns that a message written by O’Dwyer on a local internet forum on Monday stated, “I am producing video evidence for all to see.”
In the same online posting, O’Dwyer also urged supporters to attend the hearing.
“If anyone wants to come along to see justice being served then it would be great to meet you there,” he wrote.
A printed copy of O’Dwyer’s Internet message was presented to the judge, who held up the paper in the air and demanded an explanation.
After several sharp exchanges between the judge and O’Dwyer’s lawyer Yiannos Georgiades, the hearing was postponed until April 30.
The judge also ordered that both parties in the case were not to approach each other, nor enter into any communication or conduct surveillance on each other.
A court translator then added in English, “You must not get close to each other at all.”
After the hearing, O’Dwyer told the Cyprus Mail, his Internet posting had actually meant that he would present video evidence to the court, and not record the actual session.
Despite O’Dwyer’s online call for people to come along, only a handful of supporters turned up at the court and neither O’Dwyer nor the defendants were called to the stand.
Commenting on the hearing, lawyer Yiannos Georgiades said he had never encountered such an incident in court in his career.
The case revolves around claims that a local developer, his son and another man are charged with causing grievous bodily harm to O’Dwyer following an incident outside a disputed house on January 13 last year.
O’Dwyer, 39, spent a week in Larnaca hospital after the alleged attack.
However, in a rare public statement last year, the developers accused O’Dwyer of allegedly masterminding a plan to extort a newer, more expensive property, and exorbitant damages from the company.
The company also added that they had “failed to adhere to his blackmail requests“.
In a separate development, on Monday O’Dwyer blasted Famagusta District Police for refusing to accompany him to the disputed property to take photographs.
According to O’Dwyer, officers point blank refused his request and even told him he may face arrest if he was found to be trespassing.
The case is unusual as every twist and turn in the saga has been published online on his website www.lyingbuilder.com, which has recorded tens of thousands of hits over the past year.
Concerns have been privately raised by some observers that the sheer volume of information made available by O’Dwyer on the internet could influence the outcome of the case.
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2009