Four men involved in the production of a sex film shot secretly in a Luqa garage must pay compensation for the psychological trauma suffered by a woman who was underage at the time.

The DVD of her sexual act ended up being sold in DVD shops and then sent to her mother attached to an anonymous letter, with the girl suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

The First Hall of the Civil Court had last year ordered two of the men to pay nearly €33,000 in compensation.

However, in an appeal judgment, Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and Justices Joseph R. Micallef and Tonio Mallia concluded that the other two men, who had been cleared by the first court, were equally responsible for the severe traumatic effect the illicit production had on its victim.

The court heard that the girl was in a relationship with one of the four men. As she was having sex with him in 2006, another man was hiding behind a curtain filming the entire episode.

The compromising footage was subsequently copied onto CDs and put into circulation via a DVD store run by one of the other men, who had in turn acquired it from the fourth man, the boyfriend’s cousin.

One of those copies ended up in the possession of the girl’s mother and a copy was also sent to a man whom the girl had started dating, along with a letter with disparaging remarks about her.

The police were called in to investigate and charges were filed against the four men, who pleaded not guilty to producing and circulating the indecent material.

One of those copies ended up in possession of the girl’s mother and a copy was also sent to a man whom the girl had started dating

Five years later, a psychological assessment of the victim certified that she had suffered a 30 per cent psychological disability. However, a more recent examination by court-appointed experts concluded that the permanent damage caused was a six per cent disability.

The court noted that the different conclusions were explained as being the effect of the passage of time, as well as the daily medication the woman was taking to deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder.

The woman had since established a stable relationship, embraced motherhood and had also taken up a regular job, the court observed.

According to one of the psychiatrists who examined her, the woman was depressed and stayed indoors so as not to face people since she started to believe that people in the street were talking about her and mocking her.

Each of the two men appealed the judgment and the woman appealed too, expecting higher compensation for the trauma she had endured.

While her boyfriend at the time claimed the woman knew that the act was being filmed – a claim rubbished by the court – the others claimed no knowledge that the film had been shot secretly.

The judges ruled that all four men had contributed to the trauma caused when the DVD was circulated. None of them could deny the link between the action committed and the harm suffered by the woman, the court said.

The judges, however, turned down the woman’s request for the compensation to be based on the 30 per cent disability assessment, rather than the more recent six per cent.

They ordered that all four men pay equal parts of the €32,656 compensation for personal and psychological damage caused to the victim of their criminal wrongdoing.

Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Andrew Saliba assisted the woman.

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