Man on trial for alleged rape of 10-year-old cousin

The man, now 25, is being accused of sexually abusing his cousin over a period of seven years, up until she was 14 years of age

The man is being accused of sexually abusing his young cousin over a period of seven years
The man is being accused of sexually abusing his young cousin over a period of seven years

A 25-year-old man from Marsa has gone on trial for the rape of his cousin when she was still 10 years old.

Earlier today, Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera started hearing evidence against the accused, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim.

The 25-year-old has been indicted for participating in sexual activity with a minor and the corruption of his young cousin.

This is the first trial being presided by Madam Justice Scerri Herrera since she was elevated to the bench. She will be deciding the case without a jury at the request of the defence.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Anita Giordmaina, defending the accused, contend that their client had consistently denied sexually abusing his cousin between the ages of seven and 14, as well as the alleged single instance of rape.

Prosecuting lawyer Nadia Attard from the Office of the Attorney General told the court that on 17 November 2017, the police had been contacted by the child’s school after the girl, then 14, reported that she had been sexually abused for seven years, on an almost weekly basis, by her cousin.

According to the prosecution, the rape took place when the girl was 10 years old. That day she had told her cousin to stop after penetration had occurred, as she was uncomfortable.

The accused is denying the accusations. At first he had refused legal assistance, but had changed his mind after being told that rape carries with it a punishment of between six and 40 years’ imprisonment.

Testifying this morning, investigating police inspector Paula Ciantar said that on one occasion, she had knowingly tempted the accused sexually, something she was very sorry for having done.

Inspector Ciantar said that the girl had no prior sexual experiences and the family would not talk about sex in front of the child. On one occasion, the accused had made sexual advances to the child whilst she was in bed with her two infant twin cousins.

The victim’s family had never seen or heard any of the alleged advances and the child had been too embarrassed to talk about it with her parents. Instead, she had spoken about it with school friends, the court was told.

No compulsion or physical violence was used in the indecent acts which the child participated in, said the prosecution.

A police sergeant gave her account of how she and Inspector Ciantar had gone to arrest the accused, saying that they had not initially revealed the identity of the victim to the accused so as not to worry his family members, informing him in the car whilst driving towards the police headquarters. He had immediately denied the allegations, they said, and a few minutes later started asking for a lawyer.

The court announced that it will be carrying out a site visit early this afternoon.

Lawyers Matthew Xuereb and Charles Mercieca from the Office of the Attorney General are also prosecuting.

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