PARALIMNI, Cyprus (AP) — A lawyer representing a 19-year-old British woman who faces a public nuisance charge for falsely accusing 12 Israelis of rape withdrew from the case on Wednesday because of a “serious disagreement” with his client.
Paralimni court judge Tonia Antoniou on Wednesday approved lawyer Andreas Pittadjis’ request to quit, and adjourned the case until Aug. 19 to give the woman time to find a new lawyer.
The judge ordered that the woman remain in police custody until her next court appearance.
Pittadjis said his decision to resign was made after consulting with the woman and her family, but wouldn’t disclose the nature of his disagreement.
I do not wish any longer to represent the defendant as I disagree with the line of defense,” Pittadjis 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 wasn’t aware whether the woman has appointed a new attorney to represent her.
Pittadjis’ resignation from the case comes amid British 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.
The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Pittadjis said his decision to quit the case shouldn’t 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 defense and unfair to her as well,” said Pittadjis.
Lawyers representing the Israelis said they would sue the woman for damages on behalf of their clients.
By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS Associated Press