A man was charged with raping his former partner on Wednesday after the woman disclosed that she had been assaulted while reporting a campaign of harassment to the police. 

Technician Mathihul Akmal Mohamed Jabir, 32, who is a Sri Lankan national residing in Gżira, was arraigned in front of Magistrate Joseph Gatt and accused of raping his partner while they were in a relationship as well as harassing her, spying on her and causing her to fear violence, among other charges. 

Jabir pleaded not guilty. 

Police inspector John Spiteri told court that on March 19 the woman reported her ex-boyfriend for harassment and stalking. 

While speaking to police officers and describing the behaviour that she had allegedly suffered at the hands of the accused, she disclosed that on one occasion, on February 24, she had been “forced to engage in sexual conduct against her will”. 

Subsequently, police attempted to arrest the accused, but it turned out that Jabir was already airborne, having boarded a flight to his native Sri Lanka. 

Upon discovering that the accused was due to fly back to Malta on Wednesday morning, he was apprehended at the airport upon arrival. 

Objecting to a request for bail, Spiteri said that, aside from the gravity of the charges and civilian witnesses having yet to testify, Jabir posed a real threat of absconding not only because he has minimal ties to Malta but because the country also has no bilateral agreements with Sri Lanka.

Should he leave the island for good, the court has no assurance that justice will be done, he said. 

Additionally, Spiteri said there was still a fear that he could interfere with witnesses, particularly as the alleged victim herself is still to testify, and Jabir has been accused of installing a tracking device in her car. 

Making a case for bail, defence lawyer Joseph Calleja Parnis said that while the most serious crime of rape is being used in the charges as being grave enough to deny bail, the victim herself had not approached police about the incident in question and it had only come up as a “side note”. 

While the alleged rape had occurred on February 24, she only went to the police on March 19, he pointed out. 

“If she was really serious about reporting this rape, it's something you go and report there and then or the next day and not a month later,” he said. 

Other than that, the most serious concern to be considered was harassment and Jabir should not be denied bail on a harassment charge, his lawyer argued. 

The accused has adequate ties to Malta, a steady job and a residence card and should not be denied bail for being a foreigner, Calleja Parnis added. 

He had gone to Sri Lanka to visit his family and also because he was going through a rough time with his partner, the lawyer said, adding that he had returned to Malta of his own volition because he was due in court this morning in a district sitting related to the same circumstances. 

Spiteri countered the defence’s claims, saying the situation was already very difficult for the alleged victim to deal with. 

“Marital rape or rape within a relationship is already very hard to report from the onset,” he said adding that she had been driven to file a report because she was “fed up” and could no longer handle the accused’s behaviour towards her. 

After hearing submissions, Magistrate Gatt ruled that it would be “unwise” to grant bail at this stage given the gravity of the charges and because the court was not convinced that Jabir was capable of adhering to bail conditions. 

He also granted a protection order in favour of the alleged victim. 

AG Lawyer Cynthia Tomasuolo and police inspectors Sherona Buhagiar and John Spiteri prosecuted. 

Lawyer Joseph Calleja Parnis appeared for the accused.

Lawyers Jacob Magri and Arthur Azzopardi appeared parte civile on behalf of the alleged victim. 

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