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Divorce law to be strengthened.

Byline: Jacqueline Theodoulou

A PROPOSAL is on its way to amend the law so that domestic violence is considered strong grounds for divorce without the injured parties being blackmailed into withdrawing police complaints in return an easy settlement.

The House Legal Affairs Committee yesterday wrapped up discussions on the proposal, which was tabled by Committee Chairman Ionas Nicolaou of DISY.

Speaking after the meeting, Nicolaou said the aim was not to regulate what is considered strong grounds for divorce or whether domestic violence should be a reason for divorce.

The aim essentially, he added, is to offer victims the legal framework to seek divorce on the grounds of domestic violence and not be forced to withdraw their complaints by the other party, who often refuses to agree to a divorce unless the complaint has been withdrawn.

Nicolaou said recent years have seen numerous domestic violence complaints being withdrawn as there is no sufficient evidence, due to the victim's decision to withdraw a complaint.

"The cases that are withdrawn are multiple of those that are actually led to justice," said Nicolaou. "The Committee has decided to submit the law proposal to the Plenum to make it easier for victims that persist with their complaints and start punishing those responsible."

Meanwhile, the Committee decided to postpone its discussion on the recent acquittal of ten policemen who were charged -- and caught on video -- beating two students.

According to Nicolaou, the decision was made in view of the Legal Services' decision to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court.

"The Committee decided that as the matter was especially serious, it should not move ahead with discussing it in view of its re-examination in the form of the appeal," said Nicolaou.

But he said that if the Supreme Court ruling was no different, the Committee would examine ways to alter the Law for Evidence and specifically the provision for hearsay testimonies.

Nicosia District Court had acquitted the ten policemen, deeming a video tape of the whole affair -- first revealed by Politis newspaper and projected all over the media back in December 2005 -- as well as the two students' testimonies, as insufficient evidence to back their prosecution.

Due to the seriousness of the situation, said Nicolaou, certain public statements should be avoided, as "unfortunately these statements give out the impression that these issues are being handled by people who have personal differences or disagreements among themselves".

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Mar 27, 2009
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