Men who repeatedly gang raped vulnerable woman denied bail

The prosecuting inspector in the case told the court that it was one of the most shocking he had ever encoutered

 

Given the gravity of the accusations the three men were denied bail and remanded in custody
Given the gravity of the accusations the three men were denied bail and remanded in custody

Three men from Siggiewi, aged between 22 and 25, have been remanded in custody on charges of gang raping a vulnerable 20-year-old woman.

The men, whose names are being withheld on the orders of the court to avoid the identification of the victim, are understood to have committed the crimes in Zebbug in June last year.

Police Vice Squad Inspector John Spiteri, who was prosecuting, told the court that the case was one of the most shocking he had ever dealt with.

The court heard how the woman had initially opened up about how she had been sexually abused by the brother of one of the accused, leading to the man being charged in court. But as the next court date approached, as her parents were cautioning her to tell the whole truth on the witness stand, she revealed that she had been gang-raped multiple times by the three accused. They would allegedly tie her up in a field and abuse her, sources told MaltaToday.

The three men, two students and a fast-food establishment employee, all pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.

Two of the accused did not request bail.

The third was represented by defence lawyer Leslie Cuschieri, who told the court that his client, a 23-year-old student, had intellectual disabilities.

He asked for bail to allow the man to go abroad on an educational course.

Inspector Spiteri opposed the request however, saying that the accused’s brother had been arraigned a month ago on similar, related, charges following which there appeared to have been an attempt to destroy evidence.

He was also being charged with committing a crime during the operative period of a suspended sentence, pointed out the inspector.

Defence lawyer Stefano Filletti asked for the ban on the publication of the name of the accused, arguing that such cases arouse a lot of public interest and the fact that his client was innocent until proven guilty was lost on the media and public. “His life will be ruined by the publication of his name. It is of no benefit to him, the victim or anyone else,” he said.

One of the victim’s lawyers, Arthur Azzopardi, also asked for a ban on publication, but for the reason that the victim would easily be identified as she was part of the men’s circle of friends. The court upheld the requests.

The court, in view of the gravity of the crimes alleged and the possibility of tampering with evidence, denied all three men bail.

Inspectors John Spiteri and Kylie Borg are prosecuting.

Lawyers Stefano Filletti, Stephen Tonna Lowell, Leslie Cuschieri and Roberto Montalto are appearing for the accused men.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Alfred Abela appeared for the victim and her family.

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