Man remanded in custody on rape charge

A man, 26, has been remanded in custody, accused of having raped a woman in Gzira on April 2

A 26-year-old Moroccan man has been remanded in custody, accused of having raped a woman in Gzira on April 2. 

The defendant, who resides in Mellieha, was also charged with detaining the victim, whom he had only recently started dating at the time, against her will, committing a non-consensual sexual act on the woman and subjecting her to unwanted acts of physical intimacy.

Asked to justify the arrest, Inspector Eman Hayman told the court how he had been contacted after the victim had gone to the hospital and told doctors there that she had been raped. She was then medically examined. 

The alleged victim had asked to speak to Inspector Hayman in private. An interview with the victim was then conducted at the Msida Police station, in the presence of a female police officer, where she told them that she had been raped.

The court upheld the prosecution’s request for a ban on the publication of the name of the accused as this could lead to the identification of the victim and secondary victimisation.

The man pleaded not guilty to the charges. His legal aid defence counsel, lawyer Josephine Farrugia Mifsud, requested bail for the defendant. 

Bail was objected to by the prosecution on the grounds of the gravity of the offence, the absence of strong ties to Malta on the part of the defendant, as well as because he had given the police several different addresses as his place of residence. There was also a fear that he would attempt to approach the victim again.

The court was also told that he had been in Malta for less than a year and had no family in Malta. His only ties to the island were community ties, said the inspector. The defence argued that the fact that he had a job meant that he had ties to Malta.

The court denied bail, however, due to the risk of him contacting the victim and the lack of prima facie ties to Malta, also noting the gravity of the crimes with which he is accused, which carry with them considerable jail time. 

The man was remanded in custody.

Inspector Eman Hayman prosecuted, assisted by lawyers Cynthia Tomasulolo and Joseph Camilleri Azarov from the Office of the Attorney General.