Police sergeant charged with raping burglary victim

Court told the accused, a police sergeant at the time, had gone to the woman’s apartment and raped her

Glen Carabott
Glen Carabott

A police sergeant with 18 years of service under his belt has been charged with raping a burglary victim this afternoon in a heated sitting during which his defence lawyer accused the prosecuting inspector of lying.

Glenn Carabott, 40, from Mtarfa was arraigned before magistrate Gabriella Vella on charges of rape, non-consensual sexual acts, taking a video of the encounter, sexual harassment and committing a crime he was duty bound to prevent.

Carabott’s defence lawyer Arthur Azzopardi asked that the case be heard behind closed doors, but this request was challenged by Inspector John Spiteri, prosecuting together with Inspector Michael Vella, and was not upheld by the court.

The prosecution’s request for a ban on the publication of the name of the victim was upheld, however.

Spiteri explained to the court that on 16-17 April, the police had been called by a woman over a burglary at her home. “The accused, who was a police sergeant at the time, had gone to the woman’s apartment and had raped the woman,” Spiteri said.

Additionally, he said, no report was filed in the police database about the theft and no attempt was allegedly made to recover the stolen items.

Carabott pleaded not guilty. Azzopardi requested bail for his client, summoning the inspector to the stand to testify about the collection of evidence. A magisterial inquiry is underway and experts had been appointed, said the inspector, adding that the victim had released a partial statement to a doctor.

An audio-visual declaration by the victim was also taken.

Azzopardi argued that this meant that the victim’s account was preserved in the acts of the case, together with an audio visual record of what the person said. “Legally her testimony is preserved even if she is declared a hostile witness. The rest of the witnesses amount to two types of people, court experts and police officers who are not experts. They are never taken to be at risk of subornation,” said the lawyer, arguing that all the requirements for the man to be granted bail were present…

The prosecution objected to bail, arguing that the nature and gravity of the offence was very serious, amplified by the fact that it was done by a public officer given powers by the law.

The prosecution said that only part of the victim’s testimony was preserved as it later emerged that a video of the sexual act was taken and she was not questioned about this.

There is a clear and real fear of the accused tampering with evidence, Spiteri argued. “It emerged that after work hours the accused had called the victim and communicated with her and knows her address. As a result, she is not living at her home, such is her fear.”

There are also other possible eyewitnesses who may have to testify, he said. In addition, one must bear in mind that the officers yet to testify are subalterns of the accused, Spiteri explained. He added that if the video was transmitted to third parties the police would need to investigate that too.

Azzopardi interrupted the inspector to say that the video was “given to him” by the accused.

Inspector Spiteri replied that the video had been analysed by a court expert as it was a court exhibit. The accused did not want to give his password, said the inspector.

Azzopardi interjected again, shouting “he’s lying!”

The inspector asked for the protection of the court. He later dictated a note making it clear that at no point in what he said to the court was he incorrect or had attempted to mislead the court.

The court denied bail in view of the serious nature of the charges and the subsequent developments. The alleged victim must still testify before the court and there are other witnesses who are still to testify, said the magistrate.

Although bail was not granted, the Court still imposed a four-year protection order ordering the accused to stay away from the victim.

Rene Darmanin appeared parte civile for the alleged victim.