A 21-year-old woman confirmed in court today that she had lied when she claimed her father had raped her, a claim which had seen him sent to prison.

Leanne Camilleri said that she was sick of lying under oath that her father had sexually abused her and she had decided to spill the beans as she could hold no more.

“My mum was celebrating because my father was in prison and after a while I said that it was enough and I had my own independence. The lie was weighing down on me because I didn’t want my dad to continue to suffer.”

Ms Camilleri was testifying in the case against the mother, Lisa May Camilleri, who is accused of perjury and instigating her daughter to give false testimony.

The case hit the headlines last year when it transpired that the woman’s father, Emanuel Camilleri had been wrongly jailed for two years on conviction of defiling his daughter several years earlier, when she was 10.

The sentence was overturned when the girl withdrew her allegations during his appeal, and after medical tests showed that she was still a virgin after all.

The court today  heard how the mother was “controlling and possessive” over her daughter.

Asked by the Inspector Joseph Busuttil who is leading the prosecution, why she had decided to tell the truth, Ms Camilleri said that she had taken the decision on her own and not because she had been forced by somebody.

She said that she had lied under oath as her mother had brainwashed her into unquestioning obedience ruled by fear that she would be throw her out onto the streets.  She corroborated her claim saying that on several occasions this threat had actually materialised. 

The court heard how her mother had briefed her on what she was going to say  the court.  Subsequently she was taken to a lawyer where she repeated the claims made up by her mother that her father had abused her.

The story that she was forced to make up was that she had found blood in her underwear after she had been raped by her father.

Ms Camilleri told the court that when she was young she lived with her grandmother in Marsaxlokk after her parents separated

One time, after an argument with her mother, Ms Camilleri said had picked up her younger brother, who she would not leave alone with her mother, and left home.

“A kind soul offered us food. We would try to get a bus, but I would have no money.”

“I don’t know how my mother had the heart to do what she did to her own children. My brother died five years ago. “He was 11 or 12 at the time and was very scared.”

The girl had contacted Xarabank presenter Peppi Azzopardi to apologise to her father as she could not withstand the fact that he had been imprisoned for nothing.

Lawyer Martin Fenech is defending Lisa May Camilleri. Tonio Azzopardi appeared parte civile for the father. Maxilene Pace is legal counsel to Leanne Camilleri.

 

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