Activists hold flash mob to protest ‘unjust and senseless’ acquittal of officer charged with raping colleague

Moviment Graffitti activists slam judge for absolving an individual who has been charged with rape by dismissing the accused’s confession on the basis of a technicality

Activists held a flash mob outside the Msida police station to protest the “unjust and senseless acquittal” of a former police officer charged with raping and harassing a female colleague.

Protestors performed "The Rapist Is You", a well-known performance piece originating from Chile, which protests the blaming of sexual assault victims. The chant goes: “It wasn’t my fault; not where I was, not how I dressed. YOU are the rapist. It’s the police. The judges. The state.”

Moviment Graffitti activists said in the verdict last week, the judge “unnecessarily” mentioned that the woman had avoided answering questions about her personal life, and ruled that the accused’s confession to raping his colleague could not be considered evidence because the caution was not administered according to the law at the time.

“It is a perversion of justice to absolve someone who has been charged with rape by dismissing his confession on the basis of a technicality. All this while expecting the victim to exhibit perfect behaviour and character,” they said.

The judge also mentioned that there were no eyewitnesses to corroborate the rape accusation. “All wording by the judge seemed to imply that the woman who reported the rape and assault was in some way responsible for what happened to her.”

“We have seen this happen, time and time again to women,” Moviment Graffitti added. “In light of the insensitivity we witnessed, we reiterate calls for quicker judicial procedures, stronger training to the judiciary and a culture within our Justice system that regularly resorts to external rape trauma experts that can show empathy to victims.”

Last week, a judge acquitted a former police officer of charges that he raped a female colleague at the Msida police station but found him guilty of sexually harassing a second teenage colleague.

Madame Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera described the station as a "brothel" but said that the permissive behaviour among officers stationed there did not mean there was criminal wrongdoing.

The 33-year-old defandant, who cannot be named by court order, covered his face when he heard that he was cleared of rape.

The event was endorsed by the Women's Rights Foundation, MGRM-Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement and Young Progressive Beings.