Lookout in court arson jailed for seven years

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A 33-year-old man accused of setting fire to a Limassol court evidence room, destroying proof in a major drug case was sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday.

The Limassol Criminal Court sentenced the man who had pleaded guilty, admitting his involvement in the case, saying he was the lookout during the incident last year.

The man had pleaded guilty alongside a second suspect for setting the fire on July 21, 2021.

Announcing the sentence, the Court emphasised this was an unprecedented case in the history of the Republic.

The Court pointed out that “the offenders had gone as far as to set fire to an area where justice is administered, namely where evidence is stored, in order to destroy vital evidence of a specific, ongoing case.”

The evidence of the case mentioned by the Court concerns the arrests made in the wake of police uncovering a meth lab in Zakaki in June 2020.

One of the suspects in the drugs case, a 31-year-old, is the other of the two accused of arson.

At the time of the incident, the two perpetrators placed a metal ladder on the outside of the Court, broke a glass window and threw an object with flammable material, setting fire to the evidence room.

A fire broke out, destroying the Court’s server, telephone connections and various other evidence items, including half a kilo of methamphetamine and shotguns that were in the room.

The damage caused by the fire and the electrical installations of the Limassol District Court amounted to €39,390.

The man was sentenced on Monday, and the 31-year-old had initially pleaded not guilty but changed their plea on April 13, admitting to the arson.

The second man will be sentenced for his involvement in the arson case and the meth lab.

Two others are still wanted in connection with the arson who allegedly received instructions from the 31-year-old.