Transcript for video 3 – Court transcripts in Cyprus

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Screenshot from Video 3
Screenshot from Video 3

This is the ruling from three Supreme Court judges, top judges on the island, and this is the care and attention given to a criminal case with a foreigner as a victim. They hate the British within the Cypriot judiciary, they just won’t put it down on record.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Cypriot court system is currently in crisis. Hello, I’m Conor O’Dwyer, and this is Beyond Contempt giving insight and analysis of Cypriot justice. In this video, I’ll be talking about Court stenography in the Republic of Cyprus and show you why it is one of the major reasons you may lose your court case.

I’ll briefly discuss what court stenography is, what it’s like worldwide and here in the UK and that’s important because we all told, we are all sold that Cyprus is based on our legal system. Then, I’ll tell you what the official position of Court stenography is in Cyprus, and as bad as that is, I’ll then explain the reality of court stenography for us foreigners. I’ll give you examples from my cases of testimony discarded, give you my second tip for attending court and conclude by showing you what period of history, of English Law, you can expect in Cyprus.

Now, this is the third video in a series I’m doing, the first was an introduction to the channel, the community I’m in, and I gave a summary of my situation. The second video covered journalism and I showed you how the press is shut out of the courts in Cyprus. And look, if this is the first video you’ve watched, please note, I’m talking about the Republic of Cyprus here, the EU country, not the occupied North. I do get tired of saying this, but people immediately think North when they hear of problems, no this goes on in the Republic of Cyprus within the EU.

This is another video setting the stage; please be patient. I wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t important. Before I put my neck on the line and start naming crooks in Cyprus, I want to explain how they can be so blatant, they rely on a faulty judicial system, and the lack of court transcripts is one of the weapons they use against you.

Now I’ll be referring to this document throughout, It’s from the European Commission. It’s a functional review of the court system in Cyprus and it where this conclusion can be found. It’s a damning report published 2018 but like most EU reports as damning as they are, they could go further, maybe the European Commission doesn’t want to insult the member state too much, many issues are downplayed, let me give you an example of this.

It says here in referring to the delays and the backlog of cases, that some civil cases can potentially take as long as 9.5 years from initiation at a court of first instance to conclusion of appeal in the Supreme Court.

Some civil cases can take 9.5 years, yea the lucky ones, the ones if you’re a well-connected local Greek Cypriot can be that short. Every week I see cases filed after mine, already heard and the verdicts published. It may be 9.5 years if you’re a Cypriot, but my court case turns 13 years old in the Spring. That’s what the British get over there in Cyprus. So when you read these reports from the EU you must think of the very worst and then add a fair bit more if you’re a foreigner, because the reality for us is just not the same.

So, let’s talk about court stenography and court transcripts here in the UK and worldwide. Well, the stenographer’s role in court is to transcribe speech into written form, it’s that magical person sitting near the judge keeping an accurate record of what is said. Now their role is essential in recording all the testimony and argument offered, verbatim, as well as all the words uttered by the judge. Verbatim: to record exactly what is said as it was spoken.

Now the transcripts they write become part of the official record of the case and the transcript may be referred to at any time during the case and they should be made available upon request to review proceedings. But the transcripts become even more important though if the case is appealed and for an appeal, an accurate record of the lower court proceedings is crucial, you need your transcripts for your appeal.

Now transcripts should be verbatim and to aid in this task, court reporting has evolved over the years. It had to, to keep up with the speaker. The speed of speech is defined as 180 words per minute, my introduction video was 34 minutes long with just over 5700 words, so I was speaking at 168 wpm and nobody can write at that speed.

In modern courts around the world and here in the UK we have all but done away with stenographers we now have microphones in court. They hang from the ceiling, are on every desk and witness box and using voice recognition software, our words are being transcribed with over 96% accuracy. Court clerks here in the UK instead of stenographers are given the responsibility of supervising the recording and reading back testimony.

Now anyone in the UK can get a full transcription of any proceeding in any court within 48 hours. You simply fill in a form online with the details of the case, if the court does not have the transcription already done, you select from a list of approved transcription companies and for a price they will transcribe the recording for you.

And many of these transcription companies go further than that now. The latest advancement in court reporting in the UK is real time transcriptions verbatim, from the mouth of the speaker in court to your laptop or tablet in front of you as you observe. We have it in all divisions of the High Court here in the UK.

And you don’t even need to be present in Court, you can view testimony as its spoken, on your device, streamed over the internet and you can annotate and direct your lawyer remotely if you wish. I mean how good is that? And this is all made possible because of microphones & Wi-Fi in the courtroom. But it’s the way it should be, this technology is available to any child now with a smartphone.

So, what’s it like in Cyprus then? Do they have real-time transcription at their Supreme Court? No they don’t, and to be honest it’s here in the UK at our High Court only at a price, it’s a Rolls-Royce service, but it’s brilliant that it available, it’s reassuring that our courts are so open and honest that they have no qualms in providing this, especially as High Court decisions become precedents that affect all other courts, so we all benefit from it even if we don’t use it in our cases.

But no there is no real time transcription service in Cyprus. So, what about Microphones in Court? Do they have them so that recordings can be sent to a transcription service after proceedings? No, no chance! There are no microphones in court in Cyprus. The judges in Cyprus are paranoid and petrified at being recorded.

Let me give you an example from one of my cases. The trial for my second assault started with the judge clearing out the court and ordering everyone to leave their mobile phones outside for fear that someone would record the proceedings. During that 2-year long court case, I as the victim of the assault had to leave my phone outside with the court clerk and be open to being searched at any time by the duty policeman. The court bias was obvious though because throughout that trial, the three local criminals, including my property developer, were often sat in the dock on their phones texting away. I stopped proceedings on many times to complain.

But it’s not just me, its other foreigners too. Here is a story from the Cyprus mail were there was a three-hour commotion in court for fear that a lawyer was recording the hearing. The judge pointed out that a recording device would have been disrespectful and that proceedings must only be recorded by hand. But the lawyer said that he was unable to secure transcripts and he had been told that he was not privy to them.

The case concerned some women from the Dominican Republic who came over to Cyprus as dancers and were forced into prostitution. These poor women were trafficked as sex slaves, that’s who the lawyer was trying to protect. It was a shocking case and the women were abused in court and broke down several times, very common. Listen, if people knew how foreigners were treated in court in Cyprus if it got out what was really going on in there, the tourism and the property industry would be dead in the water. They don’t want you to know what goes on in court, that’s why the press is shut out and no, there are no microphones in court either.

But when I attended court, I expected to see stenotype machines as they’ve been used in courts for 100 years. With these machines’ stenographers can easily surpass the speed of speech, they can keep up and not interrupt the flow of conversation. A stenographer in a modern court has to pass an exam of 200 wpm for the job, easily doable apparently, the world record is 375.

A stenotype machine has only 22 keys and by hitting a combination of chords this means guilty or not guilty, this, in my respectful submission and this, grievous bodily harm. The stenotype machine has evolved immensely, they used to print out to a paper roll, but modern machines are more like computers and machine shorthand is automatically transcribed into longhand, it happens instantaneously.

Now, this is a report from the Supreme Court in Cyprus it’s dated June 2016 and they are praising these stenotype machines used in the Assize Courts like its new technology like they’ve just invented sliced bread. But when I attended court for my cases there were no stenotype machines and it cost me dearly. In court, there was handwritten stenography, handwritten, shorthand by pen.

Shorthand is a symbolic writing that increases the speed as compared to longhand. This is what, the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, looks like in different shorthand systems. It’s quicker but a shorthand reporter can still only write a 100 wpm, so you have to keep stopping, and let them catch up. And that stenographer will get tired quickly, the court must take regular breaks.

Now when you first see this, like me you’re going to think blimey, this is a bit archaic and it’s going to slow things down. But for us, the speed isn’t the problem, you soon realise this, because we are interrupted by the translator anyway. We’re already talking in broken sentences, It is not the speed, the speed is the not the danger, the danger for us foreigners, is that for you, those scribbles, will never be typed up, they were not transcribed for me, and will not be for you and without those transcripts you have no effective appeal.

And I tell you, as a foreigner you are going to have to appeal the lower court decision. We all do. Going against your local property developer at his local court with a Cypriot judge. You stand no chance! I’ve been following this for 13 years and here is how every British case has gone. After waiting 7 years for your lower court decision you are faced with one of two outcomes.

First, you may win but with no penalty against your opponent. No fine, no compensation, no recovery of legal fees, rent distress whatever, no justice for you. He may lose in court, but you will lose outright. No foreigner has ever won actual damages in any case I’ve been following, no one has ever been fully compensated, your case like mine will have to be appealed for damages even if you win.

But the second and now unfortunately the more frequent outcome is that you will simply lose outright. Now you might be sat there like I was thinking this is impossible for you to lose your case. You’ve got evidence, you’ve diarised every event with emails, bank statements and you’ll be bringing in supporting witnesses, doctors, estate agents, architects, policemen. The facts alone should speak for themselves. How can you lose?

Well listen, the judge will cite our English law in their verdict and say it’s their job to weigh up the evidence and evaluate the witness and then they will continue to say and it’s this simple. That everything you said was inconsistent and not credible. every witness you brought was inconsistent and not credible and on the face of it, on paper, under English Law that single judge in the district court has done their job but their decision will haunt you forever because it makes no sense to what went on in court and there will be no transcripts to prove otherwise.

Let me give you some examples here, and I’ll refer only to my second assault at the hands of my property developer from both the civil and the criminal cases and the appeal. I do this because I touched on the assault in videos 1 and 2 but remember video 6 will be about my main case of breach of contract and worse things happened in that court.

So, in the civil case for my second assault where we are suing for damages, we had doctors here in the UK travel all the way to the high court to give evidence by video link to explain my injuries. Can you imagine asking doctors to do that? The hassle in setting up that video link from the UK to Cyprus. They had to take a day out from attending patients and travel to London, but these doctors did this, and all their testimony was deemed inconsistent and not credible cannot be accepted and is to be totally discarded.

Their testimony in this civil case wasn’t weighed up against doctors in Cyprus like it should be. There was no conflicting doctors’ reports or even opinion, nothing. It says here for the defendant’s part, my developer Karayiannas, no evidence was produced. They had no witnesses, nothing, they brought nothing to court. We have a burden of proof to support our claims in court, but your Cypriot property developer has no such burden. This judge was not a doctor but rejected the conclusions of all my doctors, ruling that they cannot be accepted and are to be totally discarded. I have little doubt that the judge found on the balance of probabilities that my doctors were not Greek Cypriot and that was good enough for the court. We won that case of course, but like every Brit got nothing for our injuries and no recovery of legal fees, you win your case, but you lose outright, that money stays in Cyprus, and we have another 7-year wait for the appeal and for those court transcripts.

If we were given the transcripts of the criminal case, this is what they would have shown. The three thugs came to court and read out matching statements of what they said happened on the day they assaulted me. Under cross-examination one of them was asked: why is this statement presented so different to the statement you gave to the police at the time? Well on stand he said, Oh my old statement that was a lie and this new statement that he presents to court, yea that is the truth. The judge put her hand to her head, the prosecutor burst out laughing, so I had it translated to me. This thug admitted lying, but in the end, in the verdict, I was the one deemed inconsistent and not credible.

And the Courts will dismiss Cypriot witnesses too if their testimony supports your case. It was shown in court that my property developer Marios Karayiannas, on the day phoned a policeman ahead of the attack, saying come quickly, I was outside the house, and if he gets there first, he’s going to assault me., He stated his intentions to assault me ahead of the brutal attack that put me in hospital. The policeman who received the phone call came to court and testified to this, this should have sealed Karayiannas’ fate. But the judge deemed this policeman as young, inexperienced, inconsistent and not credible. That policeman’s testimony was totally disregarded. The phone call in the eyes of the court never happened.

Look at this, that decision ended with the judge’s ruling on the criminal damage charge. The judge states here apart from the complainants diffused and incoherent testimony on the matter, no other evidence has been provided to demonstrate this specific charge. The criminal damage.

I produced photos of the car they rammed, receipts paid of the damage to the damage to that car, of course, there were police reports too, but on the judge’s desk, there were my torn bloodied clothes, my broken camera that they smashed, in at least three parts, the lens was separate. The cable in bits it was right there, in court as exhibits. There was a chain of custody from the crime scene to the courtroom and for 2 years the broken camera was two foot from the nose of the judge, and she said she had nothing to go by. That judge made me do 14 days and over 20 hours of cross-examination, months separated from my family, do you think for a one second, looking at me now, I was diffused and incoherent on the matter? And where are the transcripts?

That’s how easy it is for them to be freed that’s why your property developer, your crooked lawyer or banker is holding out, they will not settle, they know the result in court already, you are diffused and incoherent, inconsistent, British and not credible. You will be appealing your case, everyone does.

Now written within the decision will be a paragraph like this, stating that everything was duly recorded in the transcripts but there is no point to repeat it here. The EU report says it will two years before you get those transcripts, not instantly like here or 48 hours worldwide. Two years! And as horrific as that sounds the reality is worse. Those transcripts were never typed up for me, they were never produced at appeal, they remain as shorthand scribbles to this day. It’s a stack of papers this high. The appeal was heard without lower court transcripts, here is the proof written into the appeal decision. This is from the Supreme Court for my second assault. The Supreme Court judges say here “Because there is not all the minutes in front of us, we cannot confirm what has just been said”.

This statement is in relation to the thugs now stating at appeal that they were always willing to plead guilty to actual bodily harm. They were given a suspended sentence at the lower court and to have that upheld, they were now telling the appeal court, oh did you know we were always sorry, and we were always willing to plead guilty. And without the transcripts, the Supreme Court blindly accepted this and every other point.

So, without transcripts, the Supreme Court didn’t hear of my property developer’s unrepentant behaviour, a two-year-long court case, 14 days I was under cross-examination, made to spend months away from my family flying back and forth to Cyprus to secure that conviction for the state.

They accepted that my property developer was sorry and always willing to plead guilty and didn’t hear the words of their lawyer shouted at me in Court “that I deserved what I got” I deserved a second beating for telling my story. Telling how these crooks, these thieves, these thugs, had already sold my house to another and kept my money. I deserved what I got because I’m a British man who told his story on the internet.

The Supreme Court blindly upheld the bigotry and bias of the lower court decision in full on every point without transcripts, agreeing that they must have suffered a sudden and temporary loss of self-control when the three of them assaulted me. So, they never read the Policeman’s testimony that a phone call had been made ahead of the assault. That this was premeditated. Never heard that this was my second assault at the hands of these thugs.

This is the ruling from three Supreme Court judges, top judges on the island, and this is the care and attention given to a criminal case with a foreigner as a victim. They hate the British within the Cypriot judiciary, they just won’t put it down on record.

And after this ruling I did another 2-year torturous court drama in the civil case for the same attack, flying back and forth, where Karayiannas were counterclaiming for damages. What damages to their boots when they kicked my head in? Do you think they were always willing to plead guilty? That case for damages is being appealed 11 years now after the attack, tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees and expenses, nothing returned and still no court transcripts.

The EU report is damning against the handwritten stenography marking it as a contributing factor to the chronic delays. It goes into detail of how the stenographer doubles up as the judge’s secretary too. I knew that hard working stenographer wasn’t going to stay behind after a long day to type up my testimony, but I mistakenly thought that her notes were to be farmed off for someone else to do. The EU report shows pictures of where our cases reside, just look at this mess. Your papers get shuffled in and out of cupboards like this for 2 years while your case is on, then they go into deep storage while you wait another 7 years for your appeal. They are not typed up on a computer.

The report shows that while in session the judge is writing in longhand throughout proceedings there is no time to concentrate on what’s being said, the judge won’t get the transcripts either. This document highlights this as a major problem. The judge must do this because there are no continuous hearings in Cyprus, the simplest case will be a 2-year long process of adjournments, delays and wasted time for all, it costs you a fortune. No judge is going to remember what you said two years earlier.

But this system is deliberate I can’t stress that enough, it’s not an accident that they didn’t adopt these machines that have been in use for a 100 years, it’s not as if they didn’t know they existed. But if you want to know what period of English Law you as a foreigner get in Cyprus, you have to go back a little further than those 100 years and I speak without exaggeration. You have to think of English Law pre-1875 because it’s around that time that our appeal system came in.

Before that appeal system, there was no need to keep an accurate record of what was said in court. Of all the testimony and the legal argument. I mean think about it, if the only judge that matters is the one in front of you making the final decision, there is no need to keep an accurate record, there was no appeal. The Court reporters in those days took notes just to aid the judge if the case was a long one. The only court record was the judge’s verdict, sound familiar?

No transcripts mean no effective appeal, it’s just a rubber stamp, a unanimous decision of the lower courts and that is what we as foreigners get in Cyprus. The EU report from last March says that stenotype machines are coming soon but so did the 2016 Supreme Court report and I’m hearing mixed reports that they are in use today.

So, my second tip for attending court in Cyprus is this. If your case comes before the court and there is no stenotype machine, just bow and make a point of this, just walk away, ask for a delay, do not start your case. You’ve probably waited around 7 years to get that far, wait a little longer. In the best-case scenario according to the EU you’ll be waiting 2 years for those handwritten scribbles to be typed up, just walk away, because no transcripts affects everything in your case.

It’s open season for perjury in Cyprus, some of you like me have slam-dunk cases but only if they were heard in a country where perjury is prosecuted. In Cyprus false witnesses are wheeled in, the village idiot will be bribed or blackmailed to turn up and perjure himself. And you may pull him apart on the stand but that’s no good without the court transcripts. The judge just needs to hear the words from this village idiot spoken, something to latch onto, to do their patriotic duty or serve their personal gain. You can lose so easily.

We all leave the lower courts in Cyprus confused, traumatised and bankrupt, told that something outrageous has just happened, the judge got it so wrong, made a legal error, we will appeal on your behalf. And all you are left with just an empty pocket and that judge’s decision that makes no sense in law or more importantly to what was actually said in court.

We’re not stupid people we made a stupid mistake in buying property in Cyprus, but we know why they never introduced the stenotype machine and why they’ve not just leapfrogged this technology and gone straight to microphones in the courtroom. It’s about control. There’s no juries in Cyprus just a single judge and they control what goes on record, and microphones would ruin that. In later videos, I’ll give you examples of testimony that didn’t even get as far as the stenographer it was waved away by the judge, don’t write that down.

Corruption in the Republic of Cyprus is now unfathomable, that’s according to the justice minister and you have a single judge, untrained, underpaid and overworked. They have shut out the press, denied you legal aid, translators and now your transcripts. There is no oversight, nobody’s checking their work, not for another 7 years at your appeal and only without the court transcripts.

For a month now, I’ve been asking lawyers to show me one. Show me one case where a Brit has ever got justice in Cyprus. A person who won his case and been awarded real damages, expenses, including his legal fees back. Just show me one. It’s never happened.

There’s something very sinister going on in the Republic of Cyprus and as if a court case of 13 to 14 years isn’t chilling enough, the truth is not one property developer or crooked lawyer has ever been punished. Now that is chilling! I’ve extended that challenge now to show me justice for a Brit in an assault case, medical malpractice, a traffic accident, anything. Come on Cyprus, just show me one!

Right now, today I’m fighting for my transcripts, translation and legal aid for a case that finished six years ago now in the lower courts.

In my next video, I’ll show you, your place in Cypriot society, the one after that covers corruption and then I’ll show you what really happened in my main case. I’ll show you how foreigners are treated in Court in Cyprus, I’ll put it all in the court of public opinion and I think you’ll find beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is something very crooked going on.

Thanks for watching, as always links to everything I covered, all the facts are below in the show notes, there is an audio version available on soundcloud and a full transcript on my website.

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