Bogus accusations of serious crimes should carry serious consequences, don’t you think? For one girl, they did. But supporters think she got a raw deal.
She awaits her sentencing which could be a fine or as much as a year in jail.
Here’s what happened.
The story as she would tell it goes this way:
While vacationing in Cyprus, a 19-year-old teen from the UK was sexually assaulted by a group of Israeli men. She laid charges. The police did an inquiry, they questioned her, and in the end, charged her with criminal mischief.
The teenager reported the alleged rape to police hours after the alleged incident on July 17. Soon afterwards, the Israeli teenagers, who denied the allegations, were arrested.
Two weeks later the woman was questioned for eight hours by Cyprus police without a lawyer or family member present. During that time, she signed a statement of retraction saying she concocted the story.
Authorities and the court saw things quite differently:
Cops and the courts both found her testimony to be flimsy at best:
In his ruling, Judge Michalis Papathanasiou said the defendant did not tell the truth and tried to deceive the court with “convenient” and “evasive” statements.
“She did not make a good impression on the court,” he said. “She was never clear on what happened. She was not stating the truth and I reject the version she gave.”
The prosecutor charging her for the bogus claims:
The prosecution claimed she had made up the story because she felt ashamed and humiliated after discovering that she had been filmed having sex with one of the Israelis.
Her lawyers claimed she was suffering from trauma after the alleged incident and made the statement to police under duress.
She was charged with causing public mischief, defined by the Cypriot criminal code as knowingly providing police with “a false statement concerning an imaginary offence”. She was arrested in August and had her passport confiscated.
What about the evidence?
The handling of the case has been questioned by experts and has raised serious questions about the rigour of both the police and judiciary in investigating the woman’s allegation.
Marios Matsakis, a forensic pathologist, testified in court that he had found DNA traces from four men on the woman.
He claimed the rape kit exam presented in court as evidence was incomplete. ”There was no examination of the teenager’s clothing which is surprising,” Mr Matsakis said.
“The woman was obviously in bad shape with a large number of external injuries, most of which were recent,” he added.
“This woman was not only raped by those 12 men, but raped by the state, by society and by the media here,” protester Maria Mappouridou told The Telegraph outside the court.
“Police in Cyprus always find a reason not to believe women who claimed they have been raped, many of us here today have experienced it. It’s like Cyprus is 100 years behind on this, it’s hard to believe we’re fighting this in 2019 in an EU country.”
If someone really did lay bogus rape charges after regretting a consensual romp, that should be stopped. But if someone was raped, and got punished for reporting it? That’s equally unforgivable.
Where’s King Solomon’s sword (and his wisdom) when you really need it?
Was this an instance of justice vindicating the wrongly accused?
Or was this a case of justice denied, condemning the innocent?