A father of two who stood accused of repeatedly raping his wife and sexually abusing his young daughter has been cleared of those charges, with a court saying the wife’s version of events was not credible.
The man was reported to the Victim Support Unit by his estranged wife while the couple were undergoing acrimonious separation proceedings.
Police charged the suspect with marital rape, sexual abuse of the minor as well as having held his wife against her will, besides being a recidivist.
The case went to trial behind closed doors.
When delivering judgment on Thursday, Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera observed that the court was faced with two diametrically opposed versions.
The court heard testimony about the alleged instances of abuse, but found little to substantiate them.
On one instance, the wife found her husband asleep next to their daughter, his hand resting on her shoulder.
On another occasion, the man was alleged to have touched his daughter’s breasts and genitalia while she slept alongside him.
The wife told the court that she was at work at the time and that the girl was the only eyewitness to the event.
After assessing all the evidence put forward and taking note of witnesses’ behaviour when testifying, the court declared that the wife’s version of events was not credible.
The court questioned the fact that the incidents were reported much later and also pointed out various inconsistencies in the woman’s version. She was unable to describe the actual ordeal she claimed to have endured for months, at the time when she alleged that her husband was seeing other women, the court said.
As for the daughter, evidence indicated that she had a rebellious character, skipped school and had even acted aggressively towards a headmistress.
Moreover, the girl dated older men and regularly chatted with adults.
The court did not believe the girl when she said that she had held back from telling her mother immediately about the alleged abuse simply because her mother had enough to contend with.
She only sought to corroborate her mother’s version, observed Madam Justice Scerri Herrera.
In light of such circumstances, the court cleared the accused of all charges and ordered a ban on publication of all names.
Lawyers Peter Fenech, Stephen Tonna Lowell and Elena Fenech were defence counsel.
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