Man jailed for attempted rape in St George's Bay

Ahmed Rasem Franka, who is accused of murder in an unconnected case, has been jailed for four years for the attempted rape of a Swedish girl

Franka claimed that at around 3:00am, she had asked him to join her as they left the bar, taking his hand and leading him towards the beach
Franka claimed that at around 3:00am, she had asked him to join her as they left the bar, taking his hand and leading him towards the beach

A would-be rapist, who had tried to claim that his victim's cries for help had actually been her singing, has been jailed.

In a sentence meted out earlier this week, Libyan Ahmed Rasem Franka was jailed for four years for the attempted rape of a Swedish girl in Paceville in January 2015, a court holding that his guilt had been “amply proved.”

Franka had been arrested at St George's Bay just after 4:45am on 11 January 2015 by police officers reacting to reports of a possible rape in progress. They had found a girl in a state of semi-undress, screaming for help. The accused, had hurriedly pulled up his trousers when the police appeared, the officers had told the court.

The man was charged with attempted rape, violent indecent assault, holding a person against her will, threatening her, slightly injuring her and offending public morals.

Court-appointed medical experts who had examined both parties had reported that while no genital penetration of the injured party had taken place, she had “suffered a recently-sustained bruise on the right-hand side of her neck which was compatible to a grip. A bruise on the left side of her chin was also recently sustained and this was compatible to blunt force trauma as were the bruises sustained on the anterior aspect of her left forearm and the abrasions on her right elbow. The injured party also recently sustained grip marks on her left arm.”

The accused had also been examined and he was found to be suffering from a bruise on his forehead, a bruise on the left side of his head and superficial scratches on his forearm.

The girl told the court that she had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol but had also claimed that her drink had been spiked.

“At the beach he tried to have sex with me, I didn’t want to and I said no, I don’t want. He was still trying and I started to scream...” The victim had told the court. “He tried to have sex with me, when I said I don’t want to I started to scream and he started to punch me in the face.”

The accused chose to testify and had explained that he had met a friend of his at around 10:30pm at a bar. He stated that a girl had pulled up her top and asked him whether he liked her breasts. They then proceeded onto the bar’s terrace where they spent “some time” dancing and talking about various subjects. Franka claimed that at around 3:00am, she had asked him to join her as they left the bar and that whilst he wanted to head to Paceville, she had taken his hand and led him towards the beach saying she knew of a nice place. They had proceeded to the beach across the sand making their way across a shallow part of the sea to a nearby water sports centre. At that point, Franka said, he she was singing and shouting “oohh”. “She was I think a bit drunk, just singing…Then once she was on top of me she opened my belt…I opened my trousers…” he had told the court. At that point the police arrived and he stated that the girl had started crying, denying that she was his girlfriend at which point, he said, he had “hoped that she had said that because she was tipsy and would choose to tell the truth.”

“No, that was not screaming, that was shouting. It was like 'oohh, oohh' and singing.”

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech was distinctly unimpressed by his explanation, however, pointing out that “the words heard by the Police upon arrival at the scene were not those of 'oohh.' Nor was any singing taking place. Instead the police heard cries of 'help, help, help.'”

“The victim may have been tipsy from alcohol ingested but certainly was conscious enough to resist and repel the advances made by the accused notwithstanding the injuries she suffered,” the court observed. “The victim may have flirted with the accused even urging him on as he alleges and as defence counsel rightly points out in the note of submissions. However, she clearly did not want matters to be taken to the most intimate of levels, sexual intercourse.

“The accused clearly could not accept rejection and instead of accepting that 'No' means ‘No’, and that the word 'Stop' is unequivocal in its purport, forced his way upon the victim thus commencing the execution of the hideous crime of rape, spurred on by the incapacity of the victim to offer that resistance which a totally sober person is capable of offering; a crime thwarted by the timely arrival of the Police who found the victim confused, in shock and agitated.”

Satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case, the court found the accused guilty of the charges brought against him, condemning Franka to a term of imprisonment of four years.

A protection order was issued against the accused in favour of the woman.

Franka made the headlines again last May when he was charged, together with another Libyan national, with the homicide of a Colombian man in Paceville. The compilation of evidence in that case is still ongoing.

Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Dean Hili represented the accused in the rape case.

Inspector Elton Taliana prosecuted.

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