Man remanded in custody after being accused of raping girl he took out on a date

A 23-year-old man, convicted of having sex with an underage girl two years ago, has been charged with the rape of a 19-year-old girl

A 23-year-old man, convicted of having sex with an underage girl two years ago, has been charged with the rape of a 19-year-old girl in Cospicua.

The accused, who told the court he owns a car rental company, appeared before magistrate Ian Farrugia accused of rape, forcing the girl into non-consensual sexual acts, illegal arrest and breaching bail conditions handed to him earlier this year for an unconnected offence.

He denied the charges in court today.

Prosecuting Inspector Eman Hayman said that on 16 August a woman had gone to the hospital emergency department saying she had been raped on 14 and 15 August but did not want to make a formal report. She asked to have medical tests carried out and two days later, the police were informed by the victim that she wanted to make a formal report.

The alleged victim said that she had gone out on a date with a man whom she had spoken to on social media but had not met before, the court was told. They went to a wine bar where the accused had controlled her wine intake and then took her to his home instead of hers. She said that whilst there, she had “felt a pain in her private parts”. The accused had then taken off her underwear and raped her.

A magisterial inquiry was also underway, the inspector explained to the court.

The versions of the two parties were “completely contrary to each other,” he added.

Lawyer Jason Grima entered a plea of not guilty and requested bail. The prosecution objected due to fear that the accused would tamper with evidence. The accused has previous convictions, one of which was for a sexual offence, said the inspector.

Grima explained that two years ago the accused had been found guilty of having sex with an underage girl. “They had problems with her mother who had reported him to the police.” Despite this, they had maintained their relationship and had broken up just three weeks ago, said the lawyer.

A magisterial inquiry is underway and the victim had testified there. There was no need for her to testify again, said the lawyer. The fear of tampering with evidence must be grave and real, he reminded the court, adding that the accused is presumed innocent and it is only in exceptional circumstances that a person accused should be denied bail. He had also collaborated in full with the prosecution, submitted Grima. Failure to grant him bail would do irreparable harm to his car rental company as there is no one else to fill his role added the lawyer.

The court, however, denied bail and ordered that the man be remanded in custody.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Rene Darmanin appeared parte civile for the alleged victim.

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