The maxim that ‘it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer’ as stated by Blackstone, holds very true in the criminal jurisdiction of Cyprus, heavily influenced by common law, being a commonwealth country and a former British colony.

An accused is considered innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

There is a body of law that criminalizes conduct deemed socially and/or ethically unacceptable or simply incompatible with regulation, with the main law being the Criminal Code C.154.

Arrest or search warrants and remands to name a few are regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code C.155. Suspects held in custody have rights protected by law.

Offenses are distinguished between summary and indictable, the latter category carrying 3 years prison sentence or more. Usually a district court composed of one district judge will hear cases for offenses up to 5 years, and an assize court composed of the president and 2 judges that can either be district or higher court judges, will hear cases for offenses of 5 years or more.

The prosecution must prove all the elements of the offense beyond reasonable doubt. A court must acquit if doubt exists as to the commission of the offense after having regard to all evidence submitted at trial.