Victims subjected to hours of abuse: police officer testifies in rape case

The case against four Belgian nationals accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in Malta continues before magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo • Court hears police officer testify how he noticed several injuries on both victims when they filed the report

The case against four Belgian nationals accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in Malta continued before magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo on Friday.

Masuekama Kabangu Dany, 20, Kamangu Lema Lelo Arnaud, 18, Muogo Mukengerwa N’Domba Amani, 20, and a 17-year-old youth were arraigned on July 5. Another 17 year-old has already been sentenced after admitting to a charge of bodily harm.

Police say the girl, a former girlfriend of Kabangu, was plied with alcohol and then raped by her ex-boyfriend, while others filmed the encounter.

A 16-year-old Swiss youth who had been accompanying the girl was alleged to have been beaten and humiliated by the gang.

Police Inspector Jonathan Cassar testified to receiving a call from the St Julian’s police station to let him know that two minors, accompanied by a representative from a language school, had reported being approached by five men, put in a car and taken to an apartment where the male was beaten and the girl, raped.

“Visually, on the person of the male victim, I noticed facial injuries. The girl had wounds on her back and body,” said the inspector.

He said the alleged victims were questioned at the police headquarters the next day, telling the police that at around 5am on 2 July, they had been approached by a group of five men from Belgium, one of whom was the girl’s ex-boyfriend. 

“They were then forced into a taxi and taken to an apartment in Tower Road, Sliema, where they were subjected to hours of abuse. The male victim was repeatedly beaten and humiliated. The female said she was raped by her ex-boyfriend.”

An arrest warrant was initially only issued against the ex-boyfriend, Kabangu, because the police only had his name. The police went to the apartment in question, but the alleged aggressors weren’t there.

Police then instructed airport passport control to make sure that the man would be stopped if he attempted to leave the islands. Kabangu was later detained, together with the other men, who were later confirmed to be the aggressors, and a girl who is understood to be Kabangu’s current girlfriend.

When cross-examining the Inspector, defence lawyer Franco Debono, one of the six lawyers jointly representing the defendants, suggested that the 17-year-old victim had already filed two reports of having been raped, in Belgium. It is understood that those reports did not involve any of the current defendants.

Inspector Cassar replied that he had not received this information, but added “I saw this rape on video.”

Debono said this was irrelevant to the question he had asked. The lawyer also suggested that the girl had invited her ex-boyfriend to meet her.

“Among the details which I learned as a result of the investigation…was that the victim said that contact was made with Dany (Kabangu) and that she informed him that she was in Malta. She had then decided to block him on social media after he became abusive,” Cassar replied.

The Inspector confirmed that the incident had taken place during the early hours of the morning and that the girl had left the flat at around 1pm in the following afternoon.

The sitting was adjourned to next week.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Jason Azzopardi, Gianluca Cappitta, Stefano Filletti, Jose Herrera and Matthew Xuereb are representing the defendants as joint defence counsel.

Police Inspectors Joseph Spiteri, Omar Zammit and Jonathan Cassar prosecuted, assisted by lawyers Cynthia Tomasuolo and Joseph Camilleri Azarov from the Office of the Attorney General.