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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Suspect released from prison by mistake after wardens fail to read the small print ]

Suspect released from prison by mistake after wardens fail to read the small print

A SYRIAN man pending trial on charges of illegal residence and forgery was recently released from custody by accident thanks to a cock-up at the Central Prisons.

When prison authorities realised what had happened the accused was quickly and quietly re-remanded and returned to the Nicosia prison before anyone was the wiser.

Although the issue was kept hush the story was leaked to Politis newspaper.

The information was yesterday corroborated by a senior Justice Ministry official, who wished to remain unnamed.

“It’s being talked about a lot at the prisons. I can’t confirm it 100 per cent but I don’t think it’s just prison gossip because a number of officials have said it happened. They kept it really quiet though so that no one would find out,” he said.

On August 5 the Syrian man walked out of the Central Prisons after he was released from custody pending his trial. Almost three weeks later prison authorities received notification regarding his trial date and calling for appearance in his court, which was when they realised their mistake.

According to the source the mix-up happened when prison authorities failed to notice the judge had ordered the suspect be held in custody pending his trial because he was a flight risk. He said instead they had only read the part regarding another guarantee which the Syrian had met.

“They only read the first guarantee and let him go. They didn’t read the second one that said he should remain in custody until he next appeared in court for his trial,” he said.

The source said ordinarily police should have been contacted once the mistake had been spotted although it appeared in this case procedure had not been followed.

Instead of contacting police the prisons decided to take care of the matter internally, Politis said. Two prison officials were immediately dispatched to Limassol where they located and brought back the Syrian.

A police spokesman confirmed the force had not been notified about the error but said there would be no further follow-up from police regarding the breakdown in protocol.

“Under ordinary circumstances we should have been notified. However because it was not an escape that involved his recapture and issuing arrest warrants you could say it was an ‘administrative oversight’ of sorts, which they rectified,” he said.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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