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Linda Orams’ day in court August 13, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.

Marching supporting theft!!! That was the title of our entry/post on July 24, 2006.

For those of you who are not aware what this is all about, we recommend to read our above post at first.

This is the case of Mr Apostolides, a Greek-Cypriot refugee from Lapithos town, the owner of land in the occupied northern part of The Republic of Cyprus, versus the British Mr and Mrs Oram. A case brought to the British High Court. The highlight of this story however is the fact that Mrs Blair, the British PM’s wife, is the one defending the Orams under her family name Mrs Booth.

There has been a lot of turkish propaganda on this subject, while british media seems to favour their co-patriots. I wouldn’t expect the opposite of course!

In the following link you will read more about this case > Linda Orams’ day in court  and how Mrs Booth (Mrs Blair) sheds in tears. Here’s just a couple of paragraphs:

Linda Orams broke down during her testimony at last month’s British High Court hearing after a videotape was shown that contradicted some of her earlier statements.

Transcripts from the hearings, given to the Sunday Mail, show the extent to which the Orams defence team pushed for more consideration of the political situation on the island rather than any purely legal challenge to the ownership of the Lapithos property by Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides.

The documents also reveal how Tom Beazley, the British barrister representing Apostolides, poked holes in two of the main arguments by the Orams’ legal counsel, British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Booth.

At one point, Booth, who repeatedly attempted to politicise the proceedings, told the judge that what was happening to the Orams wasn’t fair, while Linda Orams referred to the Greek Cypriot side as the “lion’s den” and “the enemy camp”.

The landmark case centres on Booth’s attempts to justify the possession of the land, where the Orams built a villa. The High Court hearing came as a result of an earlier Nicosia court ruling to demolish the house, return the land to its rightful owner, along with compensation.

However, as the Nicosia court decision could not be enforced in the north, the case was registered in Britain under EU regulations.

In addition to Booth’s pressure on the political angle, she was also hoping to score points on Linda Orams’ claims that she was not properly served with the original writ, and that she was given an unfair hearing at the Nicosia court.

However, unknown to Orams and Booth, the lawyer for Apostolides in Cyprus, Constandis Candounas, had videotaped the service of the summons, and it clearly contradicted what Orams had initially stated.

Candounas told the Sunday Mail that he had kept quiet about the existence of the videotape until 10 days before the hearings in London.

“At the time of service, I felt perhaps an additional record regarding events to take place might prove useful, therefore I videotaped the whole thing,” he told Sunday Mail. As he told the court: “I think subsequent events have shown that perhaps I was right.”

But do read the complete article, you will find out many additional details!



Meletis Apostolides and his lawyer Constantis Candounas describe their encounter with the Orams’ leading lady

By Philippos Stylianou, 15 August 2006, The Cyprus Weekly

SOME time next month, the London High Court will announce its landmark decision on whether a Cyprus Court judgment holding an English retired couple guilty of illegally buying Greek Cypriot refugee property in the Turkish-occupied part of the island, can be enforced in the UK.

In November 2004, Linda and David Orams, from Hove, Sussex, were ordered by the Nicosia District Court to demolish a luxury villa they built on the land of Meletis Apostolides, near Kyrenia, and to return the property to him, paying CyPounds294 monthly until they did so and CyPounds7,654 in damages.


As the presence of the Turkish occupation troops prevented the enforcement of the decision, Apostolides, through his lawyer Constantis Candounas applied to the London High Court to have it registered and enforced in the UK under a EU regulation.

The four-day London hearing of the Orams case in mid-July attracted big publicity and attention from other circles, as the packed audience showed. Judge Raymond Jack had to ask journalists to share their gallery with members of the public wanting to follow the proceedings.

Besides the tremendous bearing the outcome of the case would have on the hot issue of refugee properties in Cyprus, it was the first time that an application to enforce a court decision from another EU country in the UK was being tested and interest in the case strictly from the legal point of view was obvious.

To top it all, the British Prime Minister’s lawyer wife Cherie Blair, who uses her maiden name Booth in her professional capacity, had undertaken to represent the Oramses, defying criticism at home and in Cyprus and adding personal controversy to a high profile legal case.


The task of the British High Court was not to re-examine the merits of the case upholding or overturning the decision of the Nicosia Court, but to consider matters of procedure and public policy.

Candounas told The Cyprus Weekly that they did not know exactly when to expect Judge Raymond’s decision in September but said it would be given to them one day in advance in the strictest confidence, before appearing to hear it being read out in court.

The Cyprus Weekly invited Candounas and his client Meletis Apostolides to talk about their impressions of the encounter with Cherie Booth QC.

Candounas, who was cross-examined by Booth on the second day of the hearing, said he was struck by how firmly she seemed to be convinced that the Oramses had suffered an injustice, rather than the legitimate owner of the property.

He described a scene at the end of the trial when he went to say good-bye to her and Cherie Booth’s eyes became all watery.

“I am not fragile,” she said as she fought back a tear with her finger.

“Yet you seem to be very emotional,” Candounas remarked, to which she responded: “Yes, I am very emotional about the injustice of it all.”

“In some way, which is of course not clear to me and I cannot understand or follow, Mrs Blair feels that injustice has been done on the Oramses rather than on Apostolides,” Candounas told the Cyprus Weekly, and continued.


“But then again I did not have an extensive conversation with her and I do not really know. I am convinced she is completely misguided and misinformed about what goes on in Cyprus. I have no doubt that if I had two hours with her at the end of it I would convince her about what goes on in Cyprus, because she comes across as a very intelligent and decent person. And as I said it appeared as if she felt strongly about it all. So, I think if she knew the background better, perhaps she would see things differently.”

Candounas noted that in the beginning of the proceedings Mrs Booth used the words “Turkish invasion”, but then changed the terminology referring to Turkish intervention. This was obviously done on the suggestion of her extensive legal team, which included Turkish Cypriot UK solicitors and barrister Ramis Gersoy, grandson of Maniera, the Republic’s first Health Minister.


Overall, Candounas said he had formed the opinion that Cherie Booth was a very competent and very intelligent person, surpassing his high expectations.

Apostolides also had a brief personal encounter with Booth QC on the opening day of the trial. He was seated on a waiting bench in the court area and as the British Prime Minister’s wife arrived, he got up and introduced himself. “I am Meletis Apostolides,” he told her. She looked surprised at first and when she regained her composure she said: “I thought you were younger…”

“I did it deliberately because I wanted her to see that the refugees have faces, that we are real persons and not just numbers,” he said speaking to the Cyprus Weekly.

What impressed him most was the persistent way in which Mrs Blair kept hammering on the political aspects of the case, bringing in also the Annan plan and the so-called property compensation commission in the occupied areas.

“She was so pressing about it that it all seemed deliberate,” Apostolides noted, and added: “In the 3-4 days of the trial Mrs Blair must have talked for about 20 hours, more than anybody else, trying to build a larger picture in which my claim would appear insignificant or upsetting. She even went so far as to tell the judge clearly that there were things on which he should rather be subjective than objective.”


According to Apostolides, Booth also tried from the outset to paint him as out to grab the Oramses house in Hove by court order to make up for his loss of property in Lapithos, Kyrenia. The attempt backfired when Cherie Booth, assuming that the other side had already followed standard procedure and without bothering to check it out, told the court that Apostolides had filed an application to freeze the UK assets of the Oramses.

Apostolides’ leading UK barrister Tom Beazley calmly informed the court that they had done no such thing.


On the grounds of public policy, Mrs Blair tried to establish that

if the decision of the Cyprus Court could not be enforced in the northern part of the island, then it should not be enforced in the UK either. Stretching her point further she added that courts should never take decisions they know are not enforceable and used certain arguments to support her point.

The reaction of Justice Jack was immediate and stern. He said that in principle a court should take any decision it saw fit and described the examples quoted by Cherie Booth as “clear nonsense.”

Mrs Blair tried to convince the court that her client Mrs Orams and her husband David had bought the land in Lapithos in good faith, never suspecting that it could belong to a Greek Cypriot and knowing only vaguely about the situation in Cyprus.

In being cross-examined by Beazley QC, however, Linda Orams fell into too many contradictions, finally admitting that when they bought the property they knew they were taking a “very slight risk”. During her cross examination she referred to the free areas of Cyprus as the “lion’s den” and “enemy camp.” She also admitted that when the Annan plan came out she and her husband were pleased with its territorial provisions benefiting those who had increased the value of refugee property by building on it.


On the grounds of procedure, Mrs Blair tried to prove that the summons was not properly served on her client Mrs Orams to appear before the Nicosia District Court and that she was not given enough time to file an appearance.

Mrs Orams claimed before the court that two men had served the summons on her in a sinister way, as it was getting dark, trying to force the signing of documents on her. But a video showed in court, which Apostolides’ lawyer Constantis Candounas himself had filmed, proved exactly the opposite. The service of the summons was done in daylight and she was seen having a calm conversation with the two men.

Linda Orams was also caught contradicting herself and blaming the translation and her Turkish Cypriot lawyers for failing to enter an appearance in the Nicosia District Court. She collapsed in tears twice causing the court to recess.

Copyright (C) 2006 Cyprus Weekly

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