Famagusta district court on Thursday heard closing arguments in the case of a 19 year old British woman accused of making a false rape allegation and will deliver its verdict on December 30, the Cyprus News Agency reports.
The British teen has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of public mischief. If convicted she faces a custodial sentence of up to a year in prison and/or a fine of around €1,700.
She is accused of falsely claiming to police that she was gang-raped by 12 Israeli youths in a hotel room in Ayia Napa in July. She denies the charge and says she was raped but was coerced by Cyprus police into retracting her initial statement that she had been raped.
The court, however, has already ruled in a trial within a trial that her statement retracting the rape claim was given voluntarily.
Last week, forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis who appeared as an expert witness for the defence said that from photographs of the girl he had been shown he had no doubt that violence had been exercised. Referring to the bruises on the woman’s body and the blood in her vagina, he said “my position is this data is related to rape.”
On Thursday, defence counsel Ritsa Pekri told the court that the defendant had not made a false rape complaint and urged the court to reject the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses as unreliable.
She said the way police had undertaken its investigation of the woman’s complaint was faulty and mistaken. Police had failed to fully investigate the telecommunications data of the Israelis, did not adequately protect the scene of crime and failed to carry out a police line-up, she noted.
Pekri said the report of the state pathologist Sofoclis Sofocleous who examined her after she submitted her rape complaint was generalised and that he had in his mind a mistaken picture as to the events. His final report was incomplete and his findings were based on mistaken information and guidance, she said and called on the court to reject it as unreliable.
The defendant’s right to a fair trial had been affected as all the evidence was not fully disclosed in time whereas her rights as victim of a crime and violence had been breached, Pekri also said.
The defendant had been honest as to the offence committed against her from the beginning, did not try to mislead the court from the real events and did not slip into contradictions but was steady and explanatory in her response, the lawyer added.
The prosecution had failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the defendant had not been raped and that her claim was false. The court must acquit her and clear her of the charge, she concluded.
In his closing arguments, prosecution counsel Adamos Demosthenous said the evidence presented by the prosecution was overwhelming and left no room for doubt as to the defendant’s guilt. In her second statement she had confessed to making a false allegation and revealed her motive, he added.
Demosthenous said the woman had made the false claim because, as she had said in her statement to police, she became aware that she had been videotaped in her sexual encounters which made her feel ashamed and humiliated.
A video submitted as evidence which shows the woman with one of the individuals she said had raped her and which was taped at 2.57 am while the defendant had said the rape started at 0.30 am, also confirms the rape claim was false, the prosecution counsel added.
The four prosecution witnesses had not fallen into contradictions not had their reliability been shaken in any stage of their cross examination. As regards the fifth witness, the state pathologist, as an objective expert witness he gave the information needed by the court to check on whether his conclusions were correct.
The defence has tried to inject doubt as to whether there was a rape but failed to establish reasonable doubt as to her guilt. He also urged the court to reject the testimony of Matsakis who he said had tried to operate as a lawyer for the accused and not as a defence witness.
Demosthenous said the prosecution had proven the case beyond reasonable doubt and the court’s verdict must be to convict.
The judge said he would issue his decision on December 30.