by Karl Azzopardi
Monday January 23, 2023
File photoThe woman, who resides at the Hal Far open centre, testified she had met her partner at the Marsa open centre in November. They had chatted briefly before deciding to meet.
A man charged with raping a woman was cleared of all allegations after she withdrew her claims in court on Sunday.
The court heard how the police started investigating the incident when a report was filed by the Somali woman, who claimed her partner, also from Somalia, had raped her several times.
After eating at a Marsaxlokk restaurant, they went for a drive to Delimara in his car, as he works as a taxi driver.
The woman told police he had begun caressing her, but she told him to stop as she would only be interested if they are married.
She said he told her they could get married after they have sex, which they did. Some three weeks later she realised she was pregnant. She told the man they really had to get married now that she was pregnant so he asked her to move in with him in his apartment in Birżebbuġa.
For the first two nights she slept alone, but then shared a bed and had sex. She moved out six days later.
A month since they last met, she filed a police report claiming she was raped. She also admitted to using his phone to call a friend, but had gone through it and found messages from other women.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him, and after the prosecution requested the victim testify in court, since she wanted to renounce everything.
“I want to live a happy life with him… I want to be with him and the baby as a family. Our families resolved the issue and we will get married. I forgive him and forget these proceedings,” she testified through an interpreter.
She said they were in an on-and-off relationship, and wanted the relationship between them to continue.
Asked whether she was afraid something would happen to her following proceedings, she replied in the negative.
“No, I am not afraid of this. I came here after I thought of everything. I understand that I cannot raise these allegations again,” she said.
Magistrate Rachel Montebello grilled the woman to ensure her withdrawal of complaint was genuine and voluntary. Rape carries a maximum of 12 years in jail.
The magistrate continued to question the women to ensure the withdrawal of her complaint was genuine and voluntary, and after declared the proceedings extinguished.
Lawyers Cynthia Tomsaulo and Sean Gabriel Azzopardi from the Attorney General’s office prosecuted along with Police Inspector Joseph Busuttil. Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel.