Bail for man charged in 'satanic' sex abuse of girlfriend's mother

Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera observed that liberty was the rule and custody the exception, particularly when the subject is still presumed innocent

The court stressed that the man was presumed innocent until proven guilty and said there was no justification from him being kept behind bars
The court stressed that the man was presumed innocent until proven guilty and said there was no justification from him being kept behind bars

A man accused of participating in sexual activities with his 15-year old girlfriend and with the rape of her mother in what have been described as occult rituals, has been granted bail after spending over three months in preventative custody.

The 18-year-old Cospicua resident, who cannot be named on the orders of the court, was accused of the rape of a vulnerable woman – the mother of his girlfriend – as well as with causing both women to perform sexual acts against their will. He was also accused of forcing the two women to perform acts contrary to their decency and slightly injuring them.

He was further accused of causing his girlfriend’s sister and her mother to fear violence, and with participating in sexual activities with the 15-year-old girl.

After his initial request for bail was rejected by the court, the man had requested bail again by means of an application to the Criminal Court, filed on 7 May.

READ MORE: Youth cajoled gullible mum and daughter into bizarre 'Satanic' sex abuse

In it, his lawyers pointed out that before his arraignment, the accused had been given police bail with minimal guarantees and had proved himself trustworthy. But on his first appearance in court, the police and the Attorney General (AG) had opposed his release on bail, primarily because the mother had not yet testified.

In the meantime, the presiding magistrate was promoted to judge and the case had not yet been reassigned.

In her considerations on the case, madam justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera observed that liberty was the rule and custody the exception, particularly when the subject is still presumed innocent.

The AG objected to bail because the mother had not testified, noted the court, but the AG had not said that between the report being filed on the 29 January and the man’s arrest on 6 February, he had continued to live with the mother. He had also been interrogated by the police during this period.  

Despite this fact, no reports of him attempting to coerce the witnesses into changing their testimony were received, she said.

“The court has before it an 18-year old boy with a clean criminal record,” said the court. “The accused is presumed innocent at this stage and therefore despite the fact that the charges are very serious, they certainly should not be the measure of why this court should not grant bail.”

The risk of absconding was always present, said the judge, but this had to be weighed against the right to liberty.

The judge upheld the bail request, ordering the accused not to change his address, observe a curfew, sign a bail book daily, not speak to witnesses and deposit his travel documents in court.

He was prohibited from leaving the islands without the permission of the court and ordered to secure his bail with a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €8,000.

READ MORE: Teenage girl tells court how 'devil' forced her mother into performing sexual acts

Inspectors Eman Hayman and Oriana Spiteri prosecuted. Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Kris Busietta and Julian Farrugia were defence counsel.

 

 

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