Veteran lawyer Polis Polyviou on Wednesday apologised to the court for calling the attorney general a disgrace to justice.
His outburst came during an ongoing trial against Bank of Cyprus officials at the Nicosia Criminal Court which was hearing arguments as to whether to hear a pre-trial objection from the defence.
At a previous hearing the Court had accepted the objections and cleared former BoC CEO and deputy CEO Andreas Eliades and Yiannis Kypris of all charges.
On July 10, the court said that it would have to hear arguments again as regards pre-trial objections on the same grounds for the remaining defendants as it concerned a different procedure.
Defence lawyers put their arguments forward first, followed by the attorney general. When Clerides had finished, Polyviou — who is one of the defence lawyers — asked to reply. Clerides objected saying Polyviou was exerting pressure on the court.
Polyviou retorted that the attorney general was “a disgrace to justice and had destroyed the courts” and it was he who was exerting pressure.
This prompted an immediate reply from Clerides who asked for the protection of the court. “I ask for the protection of the court Mr President and his immediate referral to the appropriate body,” he said.
The court adjourned for about an hour so that tempers could cool, and when it resumed Polyviou apologised to the attorney general, to the court and the other defence lawyers.
He said he had used words he should never have used in the heat of the moment and that his behaviour had been unacceptable.
Clerides said that he had planned to ask the court to hold Polyviou in contempt, but in view of Polyviou apologising and retracting his remarks, he would not do so.
Presiding judge Leonidas Kalogirou said that because of the tension he had thought it appropriate to adjourn the hearing and given this “pleasant development” he considered the issue closed.
The trial continues on August 1.
The defendants are Christos Hadjimitsis, Nicolas Karydas, Christodoulos Patsalides, Eliza Livadiothou and Despina Kyriakidou.
They have pleaded not guilty to 16 charges relating to forgery, market manipulation, false accounts and conspiring to defraud relating to the bank’s bonds.