24-year-old man accused of sex with two girls aged 13, 14

The Fgura man was charged with having pornographic material of two minor girls he allegedly had sexual relations with

The accused denied bail due to fear of tampering with the evidence
The accused denied bail due to fear of tampering with the evidence

A 24-year-old man has been charged with participating in sexual activities with two minors and possessing child porn after one of his victims sought help from an online counselling service.

The accused, a factory worker from Fgura, was arraigned this morning before magistrate Josette Demicoli.

Inspector Joseph Busuttil charged the man with having sex with the first minor – a girl aged 14 – for several years. When they broke up he found a 13 year-old girl, he said. The man was also accused of possessing indecent material of the two girls.

The man’s lawyer, Franco Debono, entered a not guilty plea and gave the court some more details. The accused had been in a relationship with a minor for four years, during which time she became of age. “There was a disagreement over a house and the relationship turned sour.”

In the second episode, he said, if there was a relationship, it was consensual. “Obviously the law is what it is, but there are circumstances and circumstances,” said the lawyer as he argued that at this point in time, bail should be granted. “He has a clean criminal record and is presumed innocent,” argued the lawyer. He also cooperated fully, Debono added.

Inspector Busuttil opposed bail, saying that penalties for having sex with minors had been doubled. “One girl was 14 and when he broke up with her, he found another 13 year old girl to have sex with. We found this out because this girl spoke to online counselling service kellimni.com.”  It would be premature to grant him bail until the minors testify, argued the prosecutor.

Debono rebutted that the standard bail conditions prevented the accused from speaking to witnesses. A balance must be struck between the interests of justice and that of the accused, he said. It was rare that a person on bail speaks to witnesses, added Debono. “How real is the fear?”

The inspector replied that the fear of him suborning witnesses was justified. The accused stalks the ex-girlfriend, parking under her door and doing other things to intimidate her, he said.

Inspector Busuttil said that before the sitting, one of his officers saw that the girl had sent the accused a message saying she wouldn’t testify against him because she didn’t want to do him harm.

Debono said it was ironic that the man be detained on the strength of a message sent by an alleged victim. The sex was consensual, said the lawyer. “He shouldn’t suffer because of something someone else was doing,” he said with reference to the message.

The Inspector agreed that the sexual relationship was “clearly consensual” but pointed out that “just yesterday she sent him a message full of insults. Today she sent what she sent.”

The court after hearing submissions by both parties, said that there was a fear of tampering with evidence and denied bail at this stage. The prosecution was ordered to bring its vulnerable witnesses to testify at the next sitting.

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