An arraignment hearing has been postponed for the British female accused of making false statements in the Ayia Napa gang rape case, with reports saying her local attorney is stepping aside due to disagreement on handling the defence.
While the 19-year-old girl, who said she was gang raped by Israeli teens last month, was scheduled to answer to charges of public mischief, the hearing was pushed back to August 19 according to Cyprus News Agency.
Local attorney steps aside
CNA reported that the defendant’s local lawyer, Andreas Pittadjis, told the judge in a Paralimni courtroom on Wednesday that he would withdraw from the case due to “serious disagreement with his client over the handling of the case.”
Pittadjis was reportedly quoted in the media as saying his former client was the victim of revenge porn while not denying she had made a false rape claim.
British lawyer leads legal team
But British Lawyer Michael Polak, who was also on the teen’s legal team, says a confession for making a false statement was extracted unlawfully.
Polak reportedly stepped in as a report in the Sun was alleging his client was pressured by police to withdraw her rape complaint during additional statements that ultimately led to her arrest. But there was no official confirmation as to whether a new defence lawyer had been assigned, according to CNA.
According to the Sun story, the defendant says she was forced to sign a false confession after police peppered her with questions for hours and threatened to issue international arrest warrants for her friends on conspiracy charges.
The British lawer says there were serious issues with the way the investigation was handled
Cypriot police flatly denied any allegations of misconduct, saying the teen made additional statements retracting the rape complaint allegation on her own volition.
“The 19-year-old British woman had asked to make additional statements, by which she withdrew the allegations she had made the first time,” Police spokesman Christos Andreou said.
But Polak, who is a member of NGO Justice Abroad, reportedly said there were serious issues with the handling of the investigation.
“The confession was obtained under oppression given the threats made. She was not cautioned and was not given access to a lawyer as was her right under the European Convention on Human rights,” said Polak.
The British woman filed a complaint on July 17 telling cops she was raped by Israeli teens in her Ayia Napa hotel room. It was unclear what the rape accuser had alleged in her complaint, but police arrested twelve suspects, all Israelis in their late teens, who were later released citing lack of incriminating evidence.
Media reports said the alleged rape victim told police in her initial complaint that she was sexually assaulted and gang raped by Israeli teens, while later reports said she specified she was having consensual sex with three teens but became upset when she realized others were recording the sexual encounter without her consent.
All twelve suspects, who are reportedly back in Israel, have denied rape allegations while some of them admitted having consensual sex. At least two sex videos of the alleged incident were believed to have circulated online.
The new arraignment date was scheduled for August 19, when the defendant will enter her plea on charges of public mischief.