Man charged with work colleague's rape

A man who has been charged with the rape and harassment of a work colleague has been denied bail

The man has also been charged with cocaine possession
The man has also been charged with cocaine possession

A man has been denied bail after being charged with the rape and harassment of a work colleague, as well as with cocaine possession.

Sliema resident Marcel Andres Ekvall Parada, 24, of Sweden was arraigned before magistrate Doreen Clarke this morning by Inspectors Paula Ciantar and Joseph Xerri, accused of engaging in non-consensual sex with a co-worker, harassing her and possession of cocaine. The prosecution requested a protection order.

Parada denied the charges. Few details relating to the incident emerged in court today. His lawyers Alfred Abela and Arthur Azzopardi told the court that the accused had received a number of Facebook messages from the alleged victim and asked that an expert be appointed to preserve them. Abela requested that CCTV footage from two bars, mentioned by the accused in his statement to police, also be preserved. The court upheld the requests.

The defence asked for bail, which was objected to by Inspector Ciantar. The allegations were very serious, she said. The alleged victim worked with the accused and had friends in common with him, all of which meant that there was a chance of subornation, added the inspector.

The victim has yet to testify and the fact that the accused is a Swedish national made it easier for him to abscond, the inspector told the court.

Abela countered, pointing out that the gravity of the charges are not sufficient grounds to deny bail. “ A person being denied freedom is the exception to the general rule,” argued the lawyer, who added that he had been informed that the sworn testimony of the alleged victim and a third party had already been taken and so their evidence was now preserved.

On the issue of the accused being a foreign national, Abela submitted that there was “every possibility” of the accused being brought back to Malta were he to abscond. His passport was already in the possession of the police, and he was not involved in criminal circles which could obtain an illicit replacement for him, he said.

In addition, the accused could find another job if necessary, he said.

The court, however, in view of the nature of the offences with which the defendant was being charged and in view of the possibility of interference with evidence, denied bail at this stage.

At the request of the defence, the court ordered that the victim and any other vulnerable prosecution witnesses be brought to testify at the first opportunity.

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