Two men charged with separate rapes of two teenage girls

Two girls, both from Haz-Zabbar, were the victims of rape at the hand of two men who should have been taking care of them

Matthew Agius
19 September 2017, 4:11pm
Before Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, the police this afternoon arraigned two men who were separately charged with raping two teenage girls.

The cases are separate, but the similarities are remarkable: both minors are aged 14 and both are from Haz-Zabbar. Both men, also from Haz-Zabbar, should have been taking care of the girls.

In the first case, a 57-year-old man was remanded in custody on charges of repeatedly raping his partner’s daughter over the last 18 months.

Police inspector John Spiteri explained that the man was arrested yesterday evening, after the Vice Squad received a report from Appogg’s Child Protection Services.

The girl, who was living with her mother and the accused, had been raped on at least three occasions between October 2015 and August this year.

Spiteri added that police investigations had revealed that these sexual acts were committed against the girl's wishes , who was unable to physically resist the assault.

“It was only thanks to an anonymous report that Apogg had found out about the abuse. The girl’s mother had been aware of the crime, but for some reason had not informed the police,” Spiteri told the court.

The man is a maintenance worker at a government-owned science and education installation. A ban on the publication of his name was ordered to protect the victim’s identity.

Defence lawyer Franco Debono entered a not guilty plea and requested bail, declaring that the man would be living in Senglea if bail was granted.

But the police objected: “The victim used to live with the accused. In the absence of her biological father, she considered him as her father. She is easily influenced and with the victim living with her grandparents, there is every possibility and every reason for the accused to approach the victim and tamper with evidence. It is premature for the accused to be released on bail.”

Debono argued that bail could only be refused if there was an accusation against the security of the state or punishable by life imprisonment. These were the only criteria laid down by the law for which bail could be refused.

The court denied the bail request.

In the second case, Magistrate Bugeja heard how a girl had been repeatedly raped by a 61-year old man who had taken her in after she was thrown out of her family home.

The unemployed man was charged with the rape of the minor, as well as attempted violent indecent assault, illegal arrest and participating in sexual activities with a minor.

Prosecuting police Inspector Joseph Busuttil explained that Appogg had informed the police that a minor had reached out to them, to report that she had been sexually abused and raped in December 2014.

The girl had been evicted from her mother’s house and, in the absence of anywhere else to live, had moved in with the man, as he was a neighbour. The victim had told social workers how, after midnight mass in 2014 she had been offered some drinks by the man before being forced to have sex with him at his house.

The girl had nowhere else to go and so the rapes continued.

Other homeless friends of hers would occasionally be invited in to help around the house, added the inspector. During police questioning, the man admitted to having had sex with the minor on a number of occasions but had denied raping her. He also denied having sex with the other girls, said the inspector, adding that a previous, separate investigation into this had led police to the man, but had been abandoned due to lack of evidence.

The court was told that the man was suffering from mental health problems.

The accused, who sat in the dock with his arms violently shaking throughout the sitting, entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was not requested, defence lawyer Leontine Calleja instead asking the court to evaluate the man’s mental state. She pointed out that he was being treated for a psychiatric condition.

Inspector Busuttil concurred, saying that it would be better if the accused was examined by a mental health specialist.

The court appointed a psychiatrist to examine the accused “in order to evaluate whether the accused was insane at the time of commission of the offence or during proceedings relating to the compilation of evidence.”

In the meantime, the court recommended the director of Corradino prisons to see that the accused is held at the Forensic Unit of Mount Carmel hospital.

Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...