A young father walked out of court a free man after a Magistrates’ Court declared that there was little evidence to support his wife’s claims that he had brutally mistreated and raped her.

The husband from Tarxien stood accused of several instances of marital rape, some allegedly occurring in the presence of the couple’s son. He was further accused of having held the woman against her will, slightly injuring and threatening her. The man was also accused of the unlicensed possession of a knife which he carried in public.

The whole affair was allegedly sparked off in January 2012 when the woman, barefoot and carrying her 14-month-old son, entered the Paola police station reporting an ordeal endured at the hands of her allegedly violent husband, then 21.

She told the police that the man had allegedly flown into a rage when she had refused to join him on an early morning fishing trip. Grabbing a knife from the kitchen, he had allegedly tried to stab her.

Lucky to escape the blows, the woman had, however, ended up being punched repeatedly in the face when her husband flung away the knife and resorted to his fists.

The alleged victim had managed to slip out of the house, taking her baby with her and reaching the police station by crossing through fields in the hope of giving her violent spouse the slip.

After filing her report, she was referred to a health centre where it resulted that she bore no signs of bruising, bleeding, misalignment of teeth or restricted jaw movement compatible with the reported beating.

The woman had also recounted how her husband would force her to have sex, handcuffing her to the bed and threatening that she would end up “wheelchair-bound” if she were to report the matter to the police.

Questioned by investigators, the suspect had denied all allegations of violence and cruelty in respect of his wife, with whom he had been married for eight months after a two-year relationship.

The man explained how on the day of the report, his wife had fled the family home, taking the child with her, after an argument between the couple over who was to shop for groceries.

Following the said argument, the woman had simply disappeared after having first prepared a packed lunch for her husband’s fishing trip, the accused had told the police.

As for the weapon allegedly used in the violent episode, the man had explained how the knife had been purchased as army surplus. A number of penknives found later in his car, were used on his fishing expeditions.

In the course of criminal proceedings against the husband, magistrate Audrey Demicoli after hearing the alleged victim testify several times, expressed serious doubts as to the credibility of the witness.

The court observed that the woman’s claims were not supported by medical evidence or witnesses who might have noticed any visible signs of aggression upon the alleged victim.

The handcuffs allegedly used during the perpetration of the rape were toy items, hardly suitable to restrain the alleged victim, the court further observed.

While the accused had been out on bail, pending proceedings, the alleged victim had tried to make up with him in the hope of saving their marriage and had even admitted to having misled the court, even if she allegedly did so out of fear.

In the light of all circumstances, the court cleared the accused of all charges.

Inspector Jurgen Vella prosecuted. Lawyer Lucio Sciriha was defence counsel. Lawyer Jonathan Spiteri appeared parte civile for the alleged victim.