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18 June, 2024
 
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Supreme Court in Cyprus overturns rape convictions

Two young males walk free in hotel room rape over underage girl’s weak testimony and unfair trial

Newsroom

Two young males who were convicted on rape charges after having sex with a drunk high school student in a hotel room were acquitted last week when the Supreme Court found the girl’s testimony was weak and the defendants did not receive a fair trial.

Back in late 2020, a 16-year-old girl accused two males, her 18-year-old ex boyfriend and another 20-year-old, of spiking her drink and raping her in a hotel room in August of that year.

According to details in the case, the girl was at a night club with friends where people had been drinking. After stepping outside in the early morning, the two defendants coaxed the teen into leaving with them. After stopping by her ex’s home to pick up a few things, they ended up at a hotel where the female grabbed a room key that was left unattended behind the reception desk.

In the hotel room, according to the female, the two males were telling her to drink up as they sat next to her on the bed with a bottle of vodka. After she went into the bathroom, the two males followed behind.

“What are you doing?” she screamed at them according to court documents.

'Based on this misperception, the criminal court scolded the defense for not asking to cross-examine witnesses, when in fact it is the prosecution that failed to offer them up for cross-examination

The two males left briefly and then went back into the bathroom, where the 20-year-old had sexual intercourse with the girl and then the ex-boyfriend also had sexual intercourse with her on the bed, according to details in the case.

“Defendant 1 in the bathroom and defendant 2 on the bed of Room 202 inserted their penis in the vagina of the accuser in an unlawful sexual act, something which they had no legal right to do without the plaintiff’s consent, but they did so with intent and the knowledge that she did not consent as she was unable to do so,” prosecutors had argued successfully before a criminal court.

Later that morning around 11am hotel housekeeping staff entered the room and asked the girl, who was on the bed, what she was doing there, while the two males had just left. But as the two males were walking to their car, the hotel owner caught up to them, forcing them to pay for the room as well as for a broken toilet seat.

Court documents also showed that after the incident, three males drove the girl home, including the two defendants as well as another male was also said to have been in the hotel room.

A week after the incident, a relative of the accuser came to know of a video allegedly showing his underage cousin in the hotel room with the defendants, with the girl reportedly feeling frustration and seeking the help of the third male, who had apologized and reassured her male relative that he “did not do anything.”

“He had apologized to the cousin and reassured him that he did not do anything but was simply a spectator because when he tried to help the minor stand up, she grabbed him by the penis,” court documents stated.

During the appeal hearing at the Supreme Court last week, it emerged that certain witnesses were never called to testify whether or not the 16-year-old girl was able to give consent in the first place.

Police officer staying in room right across

A police officer who was also staying at the hotel in a room right across was never called to confirm whether he had heard the girl scream, the bench said, adding that other witnesses, including a person who told police he had seen the girl kissing both males on the lips at the club, was also never called to testify in court.

The young female said she did not believe she had given any wrong signals to the males, with the criminal court ruling that additional testimony was not needed regarding consent as there was “no reasonable doubt” in the eyes of the judges.

But the Supreme Court last Thursday rejected the argument, saying the girl was by 4am in a state where she could communicate with two other persons via text message and pointing to statements by the accuser that “she had not drunk all that much” and that she maintained “her drink was spiked.”

The bench also found that the accuser herself never ruled out that her behavior had given the impression to the two defendants that she consented to the sexual acts in question.

“On the contrary, she left the possibility open, a piece of information that ought to bring about reasonable doubt as to the whether or not consent was established for sexual intercourse with the appellants,” the bench said.

One of the lawyers of the two men argued there was lack of a fair trial due to prosecutors choosing not to call to the witness stand a number of witnesses, who could then be cross-examined.

Appeal judges discover error in recorded minutes

The recorded minutes in the criminal trial suggested the defense lawyers had failed to cross examine witnesses.

But the Supreme Court judges discovered that refusal to bring witnesses was falsely attributed to the defense.

“Based on this misperception, the criminal court scolded the defense for not asking to cross-examine the witnesses in question, when in fact it is the prosecution that failed to call them as witnesses or offer them up for cross-examination,” the Supreme Court found.

Additional reports said information shared with police, such as the girl being totally drunk and unable to consent, was based on depositions by the mother of the accuser as well as a school psychologist, to whom the high student had told her story including the rape accusations.

The bench ruled that the girl’s accusations based on testimony did not add up and that the defense did not get a fair chance to question certain elements in her story.

“The failure of the prosecuting authority to call witnesses essential to the case before the criminal court was considered a sufficient basis for overturning the conviction,” the bench said.

Counter appeals on behalf of the attorney general, who argued five-year sentences in the case were not long enough, were consequently rejected due to the acquittals.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  rape  |  statutory rape  |  minor  |  alcohol  |  he said she said  |  violence  |  sex crime  |  consent  |  hotel room  |  Supreme Court  |  acquittal

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