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09 December, 2019
 
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Coercion claim rejected in Ayia Napa rape trial

Cypriot judge finds British teen and expert witnesses ‘unreliable’, police testimony ‘solid’

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A judge has ruled in the ongoing Ayia Napa rape trial that a British teen, who accused a group of Israeli youths of gang rape, was not coerced by police when she retracted the allegations a week later.

The 19-year-old female, who came to Cyprus in the summer on a short-term working vacation, filed a complaint with local police in July saying she was gang raped by Israeli youths. Twelve Israeli males in their late teens ended up getting arrested but were subsequently released after police said the young British woman signed a confession recanting the rape allegations. She was then being prosecuted on public mischief charges for allegedly making false statements to officers.

On Thursday, during a trial within a trial, a judge ruled that the young woman was not coerced by police when she retracted her rape allegations. Her defence attorneys argued that their client was pressured into signing a confession, which she claimed she had not written herself, citing it was not written in “proper English.”

The judge said the defendant’s testimony was filled with 'contradictions, confusion, lack of reasoning, and exaggerated statements'

The judge said the defence failed to prove their client was coerced, citing the British woman’s statements were “problematic” and without a solid basis. The judge also said the defendant’s testimony was filled with “contradictions, confusion, lack of reasoning, and exaggerated statements.”

Expert witness testimonies were also thrown out with the judge citing a “questionable basis” in the case of a psychiatrist. The judge said Dr Christine Tizzard’s testimony, which pointed out the defendant had suffered traumatic experiences and was under stress, was designed to support the defendant while lacking an objective and unbiased approach. He also said a linguistics expert, Andrea Nini, failed to obtain writing samples for comparative reasons, with the judge saying it was not proven that the defendant was not the person who wrote the confession statement.

The defence team has maintained that the young woman did not write the statement but it was put together by a police investigator who later pressured their client to sign.

On the other hand, the judge found the accounts presented by the prosecution to be reliable, while saying the testimony of a police sergeant’s testimony was “solid” and “convincing.”

The defence team of British and Cypriot lawyers argue that the teenager was threatened and aggressively questioned for eight hours without a lawyer, arguing the retraction statement was signed under duress.

The main trial continues as the young woman is facing up to a year in prison on public mischief charges.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Ayia Napa  |  rape  |  trial  |  police  |  British  |  teen  |  Israeli

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