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Conor O’Dwyer’s lawyer speaks out

Conor O’Dwyer’s lawyer was interviewed on Cyprus radio channel CyBC 2 by Rosie Charalambous about the criminal case against property developer Karayiannas and Michelle McDonald, the woman now living in Conor’s home.

EARLIER this evening Conor O’Dwyer’s lawyer, Yiannos Georgiades, spoke with Rosie Charalambous on the CyBC Radio 2 programme ‘Round and About’ about the criminal case against property developer Karayiannas and the woman now living in Conor’s home, Michelle McDonald.

Here are Mr Georgiades opening remarks and background to the case:

“First of all I would like to clarify that it was a private prosecution, it was a criminal case. It wasn’t the Civil Case that is still pending through which Conor is pursuing his rights and is asking for remedies. This is just a private prosecution under Section 303A of the Penal Code.

And according to this section of the Penal Code the developer or anybody really, cannot sell or rent or in any other way give possession of a house to a third person which he knows belongs to another person.

So in this case Conor bought this house and he was according to the Supreme Court Judgement in Cyprus he was the owner, the beneficial owner, from the moment he filed the contract of sale with the Land Registry.

That was done in 2006. In 2006 Conor bought his house with his wife and they filed their contract with the Land Registry. They paid CYP66,000 and later on because of disputes he had with the developer, the developer decided unilaterally to terminate this contract and sell it to another person although he knew that it belongs to Conor and although he knew that he should go to court – the civil court – in order to decide whether he could lawfully terminate this contract and sell it to another person.

Well, the thing is that the second buyer – it seems like she knew about Conor’s purchase of this house and still she carried on buying the house and that is why in this criminal prosecution we filed the case also against the second buyer. Because according to the law, section 303A, anybody who is entering into transactions of selling or renting or getting a house belonging to another is liable for criminal offence.”

Click here to listen to the 16 minute interview between Rosie Charalambous and lawyer Yiannos Georgiades.

Readers' comments

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  • @James – this is very similar to the UK where you have to apply for ‘Leave to Appeal’.

    In Conor’s case there is some doubt as to whether judge applied the law correctly. So an appeal has to be made to a higher court to allow the appeal to proceed.

    The good news is that Conor’s lawyer, Yiannos Georgiades, has contacted me to say that the Attorney-General has consented to the appeal and it will be filed shortly.

    The Attorney-General holds office under the same terms and conditions as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    Can somebody please explain to me why the AG decides if a case goes to the Supreme Court ?

    He not a judge ?

    With the Disciplinary Board any party can ask the Supreme Court to review the decision of the board whose president is the AG.

  • Unbelievable says:

    @ Nigel – This is it…This is Really it..

    Lets all make History :-)

    Nigel, your website is going to be World famous my friend. You & Conor deserve all the best for bringing the Cypriot fraudsters to justice.

    Lets just hope everyone out there can get there Title Deeds or money back before all the Cypriot fraudsters run off and hide their millions of Euros.

    Justice will prevail, but asking them to return the cash is going to be a bigger struggle !

    Fight On
    Fight Well

  • @Anndeee – I have spoken with Conor and his lawyer today; I believe the appeal will go ahead.

    And there has been some good news today regarding the first first assault case against property developer Karayiannas – they have been found guilty & fined; Conor has been awarded costs.

    As for a fighting fund, I hope Conor wil put up a ‘donation’ page on his website. That way we can all contribute.

  • Anndeee says:

    Will the AG allow this case to be referred to the Supreme court? He hasn’t proved to be overly helpful to Conor in the past.

    Has anybody set up a “fighting fund ” for him yet? I want to help.

  • Steve says:

    Th question mark over the ownership of property being determined by the ownership of title deeds versus the deposition of a contract of purchase and sale at the Land Registry Office has cropped up in a number of related examples.

    One is the joint ownership of common property in a development and another is the permission required by the Town Planning Office before it will grant planning permission for modifications of a property.

    A third is the declaration of ownership of property for taxation purposes.

    In all these examples I have been advised that ownership of registered title deed or (in the second case) the approval of the holder of the registered title deed is required. I have not come across one single case where the deposition of a purchase contract at the Land Registry is enough, therefore I am wondering how confident one can be about the rights of Conor O’Dwyer in this case, based on a deposition of a purchase contract.

  • @Matthew Ring – I am not surprised that your estate agent knew nothing of this case. It, like many others, was not reported in the Greek language media.

  • Matthew Ring says:

    I was fortunate in being able to sell our house recently – albeit at a quite heavily discounted rate. The Estate Agent we used described herself as a Legal Estate Agent and indeed competently handled the conveyance: the point I am making is that she prides herself in her work and is immersed in her business. She had no knowledge whatsoever of this case.

  • Peter says:

    @Peter – I don’t see there is another section? It cannot be theft, as you cannot steal land or things forming part of the land. It cannot be obtaining money by deception as the new owner knew what she was buying? It can’t be theft as the money was handed over by Conor willingly, it was not stolen.

    It hinges on what is a “Registered Owner”

    Is the Registered Owner the individual who has the name on the title deed? if so why didn’t the act just refer to him “Owner”. If a sales contract has been registered at the land registry what is that person now know as other than the “Registered Owner in being?” Or the Registered Owner. Or does the law clarify the term of Registered Owner? As I said if I sell my car I am still shown as the Registered Owner, up to the point where the new owner registers his name, notwithstanding that possession has already been transferred.

  • peter says:

    @Nigel Yes I agree with that, but it looks on the face of it that section 303a was the wrong choice for Conor.

  • @peter – my apologies – it does refer to registered owner.

    In this situation, I believe, the registered owner has no legal power to sell the property to anyone else because Conor’s contract had been deposited at the Land Registry.

    As we have seen, Conor’s lawyer and the judge have different opinions concerning the interpretation of the law. I think we will have to wait for a ruling by the Supreme Court when the appeal is heard.

  • tom says:

    So until you get title the developer can just sell your property as many times as he likes?

  • peter says:

    @Nigel

    (3) For the purposes of the present section, a person acts with intent to defraud if, when committing any of the acts set out in subsection (2), that person knows or, under the circumstances, should reasonably have known, that he does not have the consent of the registered owner of the immovable property, or of any other person who has the lawful authority to grant such consent.”

    “present section” above must mean 303A as a whole including sub sections 1.2 and 3.
    sub section 1 states the general intent of the section
    sub section 2 defines the possible acts of fraud.
    sub section 3 . above, refers specifically to the registered owner (being the only party that can be victim of fraud under this section) which does not apply in Conor’s case as he is not the registered owner.

    I’m going by the wording in your previous post, sorry if I missed something.

  • Peter says:

    @ Peter-I would agree with Nigel on this one. The wording says “..that he does not have the consent of the registered owner of the immovable property, or of any other person who has the lawful authority to grant such consent.”..

    As a Registered Owner is not defined in the section, I would maintain that a Registered Owner is one who has his name on a contract and lodged at the Land Registry. There being a difference between a Registered Owner and a Full Owner. For example a registered owner of a car may not be the actual owner

    It maybe that the Developer is saying he is covered by part of the second section “Or of any other person who has the lawful authority to grant such consent.”..But I would maintain this applies to an “Agent” or a person acting as an agent of the owner or Registered Owner only.

  • @peter – If you look at the text of section 303A of the Penal Code, no mention is made of a ‘registered owner’:

    “Any person who, with intent to defraud, deals in immovable property belonging to another is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years”.

    Conor’s rights to the property as its beneficial owner were (supposedly) secured when his contract of sale was deposited at the Land Registry.

  • Peter says:

    @Unbelievable You ask …”Is this news hitting the Cypriot TV or papers?”

    The answer is “NO”. in fact the average Greek Cypriot knows very little about the financial state of the island or the associated problems with title deeds. They read few papers and the local TV is more concerned with ‘soaps’ than news of the economy.

    Obviously the developers know of the case, and are no doubt dancing around the camp-fire, I know my developer bragged openly to me about how many Brits he had managed to ‘screw’ and even went into details for my benefit, when I submitted our first ‘snags-list’. His Mr Nice guy image suddenly evaporated.

    They are simple people unaware that as they dance they are also celebrating their demise, but in the meantime they continue to build knowing the economy is about to get better (but don’t tell Fitch)

  • peter says:

    According to 303a section 3 it is only the “registered owner” that can be victim of an intent to defraud. If Conor was not the registered owner this law does not apply. Contracts lodged at land registry are not covered.

  • Unbelievable says:

    and if the Supreme Court decide in developers favour and ignore section 303A,

    What is Conor to do?

    Can the MEP’s then step in to remind Cyprus they must stick to the agenda?

    Nigel, is this news hitting the Cypriot TV or papers?

    Are the courts giving time for developer Karayiannas to move his money elsewhere before the Supreme Court finds him guilty. At which point developer Karayiannas pleads poverty and begs for forgiveness !

  • In case anyone is wondering what section 303A of the Penal Code referred to Mr Georgiades, says:

    “(1) Any person who, with intent to defraud, deals in immovable property belonging to another is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

    (2) For the purposes of the present section a person shall be deemed to be dealing in immovable property where-

    (a) [that person] Sells to another, or rents to another, or mortgages to another or encumbers in any way, or makes available for use by another immovable property, or

    (b) advertises or otherwise promotes the sale or renting out or mortgaging or charging in any way to another of immovable property or the use thereof by another, or

    (c) concludes an agreement for the sale to another, or the renting out to another, or the mortgaging to another, or the charging in any way to the benefit of another, or the use by another of immovable property, or

    (d) accepts the immovable property which is the object of the dealing as this is defined in the present subsection.

    (3) For the purposes of the present section, a person acts with intent to defraud if, when committing any of the acts set out in subsection (2), that person knows or, under the circumstances, should reasonably have known, that he does not have the consent of the registered owner of the immovable property, or of any other person who has the lawful authority to grant such consent.”

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