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O’Dwyer aid marks a Cyprus legal first

Conor O’Dwyer, whose dispute with Paralimni-based property developer Christoforos Karayiannas & Son Ltd has been dragging on for more than six years, has been granted legal aid to continue his civil action.

BRITISH home buyer Conor O’Dwyer has been granted legal aid to continue his long-running civil case against the Paralimni-based property developer Christoforos Karayiannas & Son Ltd over a disputed property.

In a short hearing yesterday morning, Judge Tefkros Economou at Famagusta District Court said the aid was necessary, pointing to EU directive 2002/8/EC which deals with cross border disputes within the EU.

The EU directive was passed into Cyprus law in 2005 and has only ever been used in human rights and criminal cases, making O’Dwyer’s claim in a civil action a legal first.

O’Dwyer has been embroiled in an expensive and lengthy legal action with Paralimni based Karayiannas Developers, with several concurrent cases running in court.

The aid will help with his fees in case in which O’Dwyer claims unlawful termination of his contract of sale by Karayiannas (Case 365/2006). The aid will also pay for a court interpreter, accommodation costs and travel expenses between his home in Britain and court dates in Cyprus.

“Conor has been drained financially due to all the cases pending in the courts in Cyprus for all these years,” lawyer Yiannos Georgiaides, acting for O’Dwyer, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

“It came to the, point where he could not afford his legal fees; therefore he would not have had proper access to justice. He would have been in a very difficult position.”

Wrangling

O’Dwyer’s lawyers applied for aid after years of legal wrangling over a disputed villa in Frenaros, which began when O’Dwyer claimed he purchased a house that was then resold by Karayiannas Developers without his knowledge.

The dispute has taken a series of twists and turns, including O’Dwyer staging demonstrations outside the Cyprus High Commission in London, sleeping at the gates of the Presidential Palace in Nicosia and publishing his entire story online and on the video site YouTube.

He claims the spat resulted in him losing the house and £100,000 he had paid for the property.

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.

The case has been closely followed by expatriate communities on the island, where as many as 30,000 Britons are now thought to own property.

“If Conor was not granted this legal aid, this would be equal to the refusal of his right to justice,” Georgiaides added.

Last year the developer, his son and an associate were convicted of assault and actual body harm of O’Dwyer after he was beaten up outside the disputed house in early 2007.

O’Dwyer spent a week in Larnaca General Hospital after the attack and said the incident blighted his family life.

Readers' comments

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  • J Hunnam says:

    1, You buy a house in Cyprus and then the system allows the Developer to sell it again.

    2, You are then seriously assaulted by the Developer for standing up for your rights.

    3, The twists & turns in the above case just beggars belief.

    4, Now 6yrs on and has only just been granted legal aid

    5, I am so pleased he has been granted legal aid, but why has it taken 6yrs.

    6, Or have they just waited until he spends all his money in Cyprus before giving it consideration.

    7, Conor SHOULD BE COMPENSATED for the last 6 yrs + interest + a villa @ the very least, this gesture of good will just may help to restore confidence in investors and also if they sort out the title deed fiasco (amazing)

  • Steve says:

    Kal mentioned three valuable attributes for success that Mr O’Dwyer has demonstrated – patience, resolute persistence and courage. We would all do well to remember these when we are fighting for justice in Cyprus regarding our own problems in 2012. Most important of all is persistence, more important than charm, wit, intelligence, powers of persuasion or experience.

  • Stuart says:

    @Peter,
    I think you will find the expression you quote is actually… “There, but for the grace of God, go many of us”. Nevertheless, those of us who do believe in miracles should pray that Conor does eventually get justice in these constitutionally corrupt circumstances. It could well take divine intervention!

  • Richard says:

    Let’s hope the land-mark happens and Conor wins through. After that – I hope he and his family stay connected with Cyprus – as there are many Cypriots who have been wronged over the years who ache for a better side of the country to come through.

    One day – we may just all see it.

    We all just have to get better at believing in miracles.

    On that note – may I wish everyone on C.P.N and the associated groups a very Merry Christmas and a bright 2012.

  • Mike says:

    Amen to that.

    Mr O’Dwyer should be put forward as an example to us all in the constant battle to ensure legal, moral and natural justice. Qualities that seem to be fast evaporating and in some places faster than others.

    How deceit, fraud, breach of contract and assault cannot conceivably be considered an act of criminality is still beyond me. Let’s hope our Courts dispense justice in a manner that is seen to be in line with the wishes of the people. (I am Cypriot by the way).

    Good luck to you sir and may justice compensate you for what you and your family have suffered on our little Island. Please do not form the opinion that we are all the same – we are not.

  • Kal says:

    Conor – I stand up and salute your patience and resolute persistence. Not many would have your courage. Well done and let us all hope that you get justice at last.

  • Martyn says:

    Let us hope that Conor’s tenacity and the recent award of Legal Aid to allow him to pursue his grievances against his Developer signal a flicker of a turning-point in the couldn’t- care- less attitude of Cyprus government, too many of its construction and property development companies, too many also of its legal and professional people and the cavalier actions/activities of quite a few of its banks. The Cyprus property markets have, due to a worrying connectivity of the above factors/organisations brought about a prolonged slide of the image and reputation of Cyprus, the country, that will prove difficult to turn-around.

    Good Luck, Conor, you deserve it!

  • Andrew says:

    Let us all hope that this decision to grant legal aid results in Conor finally receiving justice and the compensation he and his long suffering family truly deserve. Maybe now that Cyprus is paying for the case they will not drag the matter out in the way they have done so far.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Mr Conor O’Dwyer, is a valiant man fighting for justice.

  • Peter says:

    There by the grace of God go many of us….

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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