A man was cleared of sexually abusing his friend’s 17-year old sister while on a night out in Paceville, since the victim’s version of events - which were marked by lengthy intervals of unconsciousness - left many doubts.
The case dated back to one November night in 2014 when the girl had gone clubbing with her brother and two friends of his, one of them the accused, a 33-year old Cospicua man.
At one point, the girl had parted company with her brother - who told her that his friend, the accused, would give her a lift back home.
After entering a club with the accused and two of his brothers, the girl suffered repeated blackouts and could not even recall how she had left the place.
She did recall, however, waking up and finding herself naked in bed, pinned down under the bare-chested accused, who was refusing to let go in spite of her protests. However, since she felt drained of all energy, she had passed out again.
The girl had allegedly regained her senses a second time, finding herself in the accused’s car right outside her home and remembered him telling her not to let anyone know about what had gone on between them.
However, the following day, the girl had allegedly told her brother, who in turn spoke to their mother. A police report was filed and five days later, the girl was medically examined in hospital where a doctor pronounced that there were three bruises on the patient’s feet.
Faced with allegations of violent indecent assault on a minor, the suspect aggressor protested his innocence, claiming that he had simply kissed the girl intimately but had gone no further out of respect for his friend, the girl’s brother.
Besides, the young lady had consumed alcohol, the accused had told investigators.
His statements, released without the assistance of a lawyer, were subsequently discarded by the court in evidence against him.
On the basis of all other evidence put forward, the court, presided over by magistrate Audrey Demicoli, declared that the victim’s limited version left many unanswered doubts since, during most of that night, she had been unconscious.
The girl had even claimed to have experienced “illusions” and admitted that she was not certain as to what had actually happened, the Court observed.
Moreover, even if the charges were proved, the age of consent had since been lowered to 16, which meant that the alleged victim would no longer have been classified as a minor for the purpose of the charges, said the Court, pronouncing an acquittal.
Lawyer Joseph Giglio was defence counsel.
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