No bail for man accused of sexually abusing 11-year-old half-sister

A man has been charged with sexually abusing his half-sister five years ago after the case was reported to the police by care agency Appoġġ

A man was remanded in custody after being charged with abusing his half-sister when she was 11
A man was remanded in custody after being charged with abusing his half-sister when she was 11

A 27-year-old man has been denied bail after he was accused of sexually abusing his half-sister when she was 11 years old.

Police Inspector Kylie Borg arraigned the man, who is not being identified due to a court order, before Magistrate Gabriella Vella this afternoon.

Inspector Borg said the man had been reported by care agency Appoġġ, after the alleged victim, now 16 years old, told them of the sexual abuse by her half-brother, five years ago. A warrant for his arrest was issued and the man was detained by the police.

The man was charged with participating in sexual acts with a minor and corrupting her.

Defence lawyer Ishmael Psaila entered a not guilty plea to the charges. He asked the inspector to tell the court where the victim was currently living and the girl said she was living in an Appoġġ shelter.

The defence requested bail.

The prosecution objected to his release, telling the court that the minor was very scared of the accused, explaining that when the two used to live under the same roof, she would be beaten by the accused. The girl was also still a minor, and under a care order, explained the inspector.

The man’s family was very large, she said, and this meant that tampering with evidence was a real risk.

Psaila argued that the victim hadn’t spoken to the accused for several years and that the man had a son and a partner. At this stage the fear of tampering with evidence is minimal, said the lawyer.

“What is the point of keeping him in custody for weeks until case appointed so that the victim testifies and then giving him bail?”

Inspector Borg pointed out that the girl was not a prisoner nor constantly watched over by social workers. “She is a normal girl living a normal life, going out and so on. She is already scared and was fearful to speak to the police, more so to testify before a court.”

Psaila argued that this “wasn’t a normal family that meet for lunch every Sunday. They haven’t seen each other for years.”

The court, however, because of the gravity of the charges made against the accused and the fact that the alleged victim was still a minor, denied the man bail.

A ban on the publication of the names of the accused and the victim was issued.

Lawyer Alexia Attard appeared parte civile for the minor.