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Lawyer for British teenager charged with false rape claims in Cyprus quits

The judge ordered that the woman remain in police custody until her next court appearance.

Famagusta district court house (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Famagusta district court house (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

A lawyer representing a 19-year-old British woman who faces a public nuisance charge for falsely accusing 12 Israelis of rape has withdrawn from the case because of a “serious disagreement” with his client.

Paralimni court judge Tonia Antoniou on Wednesday approved lawyer Andreas Pittadjis’s request to quit, and adjourned the case until August 19 to give the teenager time to find a new lawyer.

The judge ordered that she remain in police custody until her next court appearance.

Mr Pittadjis said his decision to resign was made after consulting with the woman and her family, but would not disclose the nature of his disagreement.

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A 19-year old British woman at Famagusta courthouse (Petros Karadjias/AP)

“I do not wish any longer to represent the defendant as I disagree with the line of defence,” he said after the hearing.

“Once there is a disagreement (lawyers) have an obligation towards the court, themselves and their clients to resign.”

The lawyer said he was not aware if the woman had appointed a new lawyer.

His resignation comes amid media reports that the woman claimed she was forced by Cypriot investigators to retract her original rape report.

A Cypriot law enforcement official denied the allegation, insisting the woman voluntarily admitted in writing to falsely accusing the Israelis, who have since returned to Israel.

Mr Pittadjis said his decision to quit should not be linked to how the woman would plead.

“Please do not interpret my resignation as whether she had to plead guilty or not guilty or anything, as this will be prejudicial to her defence and unfair to her as well,” he said.

The state-run Cyprus News Agency reported that the British woman’s mother, who attended the hearing, said she trusts the Cypriot justice system and that she would hire a replacement lawyer for her daughter, who she has visited at the police detention facility “almost daily”.

Lawyers representing the Israelis said they would sue the woman for damages on behalf of their clients.

PA

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