The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

Occult rituals: Man charged with raping mother of 15-year-old girlfriend granted bail

Friday, 10 May 2019, 15:03 Last update: about 4 months ago

A man accused of participating in sexual activities with his 15-year-old girlfriend and the rape of her mother as part of occult rituals has been granted bail after spending over 3 months in preventive custody.

The 18-year-old Cospicua resident, who cannot be named on the orders of the court, was accused of the rape of a vulnerable woman – the mother of his girlfriend – as well as with causing her and another vulnerable woman – her daughter – to perform sexual acts against their will, violent indecent assault on a person who was unable to resist, holding the women against their will, forcing them to perform acts contrary to their decency and slightly injuring them.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was further accused of causing his girlfriend’s sister and her mother to fear violence and with participating in sexual activities with the15-year-old girl.

In a recent sitting, the teenage girl told the court how a paranormal voice at her family home told her mother and her sister to perform sex acts on a broomstick, as a disturbing sex abuse case continued today.

After his initial request for bail was rejected by the court, the man had requested bail again by means of an application to the Criminal Court filed on May 7.

In it, his lawyers pointed out that before his arraignment, the accused had been given police bail with minimal guarantees and had proved himself trustworthy. But on his first appearance in court, the police and the Attorney General had opposed his release on bail, primarily because the mother had not yet testified.

In the meantime, the presiding magistrate was promoted to judge and the case had not yet been reassigned.

In her considerations on the case, madam justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera observed that liberty was the rule and custody the exception, particularly when the subject is still presumed innocent.

The AG is objecting to bail because the mother had not testified, noted the court, but the AG had not said that between January 29 when the report was made and the man’s arrest on February 6, he had been living with the mother, even after his interrogation. Despite this fact, no reports of him attempting to coerce the witnesses into changing their testimony were received, she said.

“The court has before it an 18-year-old boy with a clean criminal record,” said the court. “The accused is presumed innocent at this stage and therefore despite the fact that the charges are very serious, they certainly should not be the measure of why this court should not grant bail.” The risk of absconding was always present, said the judge, but this had to be weighed against the right to liberty.

The judge upheld the bail request, ordering the accused not to change his address, observe a curfew, sign a bail book daily, not speak to witnesses and deposit his travel documents in court. He was prohibited from leaving the islands without the permission of the court and ordered to secure his bail with a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €8,000.

 Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Chris Busietta eppeared on behalf of the accused who received bail.

  • don't miss