The Malta Independent 19 March 2019, Tuesday

Man gets 10 years in jail for raping, sexually abusing 10-year-old cousin

Friday, 11 January 2019, 14:03 Last update: about 3 months ago

The trial of a young man accused of the rape and sexual abuse of his younger cousin has ended with a conviction.

The 25-year-old man was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. He is expected to appeal.

Madam justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera’s judgment comes at the end of a week-long trial which spurred public debate on the issue of victim-blaming and how rape cases are dealt with.

ADVERTISEMENT

The now 16-year-old girl had testified in the trial, telling the judge that the abuse would happen in various rooms at her grandmother’s house.

But defence lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Anita Giordmaina had argued that the allegations were false and that the girl was motivated by jealousy of the accused and his long-term girlfriend.

The court said it was up to the prosecution to prove charges beyond reasonable doubt. The court noted that it was faced with conflicting evidence and examined case law on this point and others. Circumstantial evidence had to point in one direction, said the judge, giving an overview of how the courts are to interpret evidence.

The air in the courtroom was heavy with tension as the judge read through the lengthy judgment.

The court said that exceptional circumstances justified the admission of hearsay evidence of guidance teacher.

The court congratulated the lawyers on both sides for their conduct which she said she had little seen before.

The court said that there was no reason for the child to be jealous of the accused and his settled life, as she too had boyfriends.

She had been controlled by her cousin with great malice, said the judge, who decried the “barbarous and animalesque” actions of the accused.

The judge ruled that although the way the law dealt with the punishment had changed in the period since the incident took place, the punishment applicable at the time would be applied.

The accused was declared guilty of rape, aggravated by the proximity of the victim and jailed for 10 years.

Lawyers Nadia Attard, Matthew Xuereb and Charles Mercieca from the AG’s Office prosecuted.

  • don't miss