The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Man jailed 15 years for raping daughter after jurors deliver unanimous guilty verdict

Saturday, 18 June 2022, 13:44 Last update: about 7 days ago

A 47-year-old man from Cospicua was jailed for 15 years after jurors delivered a rare 9-0 guilty verdict late on Friday night.

In view of the jurors’ unanimity, Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja, presiding over the trial that was held behind closed doors, handed down the maximum punishment.

The man’s name is not being published in order to safeguard the rights of his daughter, who was just nine years old when the crime took place. The trial was also held behind closed doors for this reason.

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The abuse had only come to light, many years later, after the child had opened up to a religious doctrine teacher at MUSEUM.

In 2015, the man’s request for a constitutional reference, in which he made several claims of rights breaches, amongst them that he had been denied access to a lawyer before and during interrogation and that his detention in pre-trial custody exceeded the limit imposed by law, had been rejected by the Criminal Court, and later also by the Constitutional court.

Although the trial jury was not open to the public, details of the Bill of Indictment had emerged in a 2015 decision by the Criminal Court dismissing his preliminary pleas, in which his request for a Constitutional reference was also rejected. Being described as “frivolous and vexatious” by the presiding judge.

The bill of indictment quoted in that judgment described how the nine-year-old girl’s father had raped her, both vaginally and anally, on two separate occasions, once in her bedroom and once in her brother’s bedroom.

The prosecution was led by lawyers Anthony Vella and Kaylie Bonnet from the office of the Attorney General. Lawyer Tonio Azzopardi was defence counsel.

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