A 36-year-old nurse has been remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to raping a woman several times in recent months.

Prince Aftab, 36, from Pakistan and who has been living in Malta for the past 10 years, was charged on Sunday morning before duty Magistrate Josette Demicoli.

The court heard that the victim, a Pakistani woman, only came forward to report the case after confiding her harrowing experience to a psychologist.

Inspector Joseph Busuttil told the court that in Pakistani culture a woman having sex before marriage is considered to be disgraced, and that the victim had therefore been afraid to flag the case until she was encouraged to do so by the psychologist.

That claim was contested by defence lawyer Shazoo Ghaznavi, who said the inspector’s remarks about Pakistani culture described reality some 70 to 80 years ago and not the modern-day reality.

Dr Ghaznavi accused the prosecution of acting with haste, saying the police charged his client within 48 hours of the victim’s report. In a heated exchange he accused the police of “throwing mud” at his client while questioning the reason why the case was not investigated further before filing charges.

Inspector Busuttil refuted claims about the investigation having been improperly handled.

Though no request for bail was made, the defence asked for a ban on the name of the accused. However, the court rejected this demand saying there were no grounds to uphold it.

Lawyer Helen Grech assisted Dr Ghaznavi.