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Orams Lose N. Cyprus Property Appeal

The UK Court of Appeal has ruled that Linda and David Orams will have to demolish their property in Lapithos in northern Cyprus five years after Greek-Cypriot Meletios Apostolides sued them for building a villa on his usurped land.

The couple spent around 160,000 sterling on the villa and have been ordered to immediately demolish the building, pool and fencing as well as giving back the property to the original owner and paying his legal costs and damages.

The landmark ruling has set a precedent that could affect thousands of other holiday home owners in northern Cyprus, and upholds a ruling by the European Court of Justice supporting the original Nicosia District Court decision in 2005. At the time, the Orams refused to comply with the Nicosia court's decision, saying it was not enforceable in northern Cyprus.

Meletios Apostolides then sued the Orams for their property in the UK in 2006 but lost the case when their lawyer Cherie Blair defended them on the grounds that they were not responsible for the political situation in Cyprus. She said that the EU acquis communitaire - in which the decisions of European country courts must be recognised by all other EU27 countries - was suspended in the Turkish-occupied areas.

Apostolides then pursued the case in the European Court of Justice, which upheld Nicosia's ruling that the Orams should demolish the villa they had built on his property. The Orams then appealed the case in the UK, claiming that the ECJ president Vassilios Skouris was Greek and therefore biased.

According to the BBC, Apostolides' lawyer Constantis Candounas said: "This creates a new legal framework in those cases where foreigners are trespassing on such properties."

'We will study the judgement and consider whether there is anything further to be done. Failing that, we will have to take steps, as far as possible given the political situation in Cyprus, to comply with the judgement,' said Linda Orams.

Lord Justice Pill presided over the appeal, the same judge who rejected Holocaust-denier David Irving's appeal against a ruling that he had to pay two million pounds in costs to academics who called him 'one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial.'

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