Five bombshells uncovered in court as Briton ‘gang raped in Cyprus’ acquitted of lying


The British student, now 21, told police she had been raped by up to 12 Israelis in a hotel room in Ayia Napa, the island’s infamous party hub, in July 2019.

A student told the police that she had been raped by up to 12 Israelis.
A student told the police that she had been raped by up to 12 Israelis.

A British woman found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has had her conviction overturned in a landmark 104-page ruling.

The student, now 21, told police she had been raped by up to 12 Israelis in a hotel room in Ayia Napa, the island’s infamous party hub, in July 2019.

Her status as a victim changed overnight when authorities announced that she had withdrawn the complaint after confessing to making up the claims.

A district court judge later handed the Briton a four-month suspended prison sentence for being a “public nuisance” after ruling she had fabricated the attack.

But in a decision seen as a first for victims of sexual assault, the Cyprus Supreme Court upheld the young woman’s appeal and dismissed the case. His verdict ran to an unprecedented 104 pages.

Now he has had a conviction for lying overturned.
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KATIA CHRISTODOULOU / EPA-EFE / REX)

Here are five bombshells emerging from court documents.

The victim was abused

In an unusual move, the Supreme Court cited substantive and procedural grounds for its decision. It concluded that the handling of the case was flawed and unfair.

The Briton, she claimed, had not only been mistreated by the police, who failed to ensure that she was questioned in the presence of a lawyer for eight hours of interrogation, but also by the trial judge, Michalis Papathanasiou.

Agreeing with his lawyers’ submission of the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that Papathanasiou had “misbehaved” during the often chaotic and intermittent proceedings by interrupting witnesses and failing to listen properly.

An Israeli tourist who appeared in court on suspicion of rape
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KATIA CHRISTODOULOU / EPA-EFE / REX)

Unconvincing ‘confession’

The Briton’s “retraction statement” withdrawing the rape allegation formed the basis of the prosecution’s case. But the Supreme Court ruled that the poorly worded retraction should never have been taken into account.

The document should have been excluded from the process because it had been obtained “under oppression” without a lawyer who could have advised the “vulnerable young woman who was in a foreign country” about her rights.

“The prosecution could not prove that she waived her right to an attorney,” the sentence stated.

He clarified that, although it is an EU member state, the island’s law remains incompatible with European legislation that stipulates that suspects must “have access to a lawyer” before being questioned by the police.

People protested outside the court after the Briton was found guilty of lying
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KATIA CHRISTODOULOU / EPA-EFE / REX)

Gaps and inaccuracies

Papathanasiou was accused of “misreading” the evidence in the run-up to his court announcing the guilty verdict in January 2020.

He dismissed the experts summoned by the defense. In particular, it failed to adequately assess the credibility of Dr. Andrea Nini, a forensic linguist at the University of Manchester.

The expert argued that it was very unlikely that the Briton had written the confession because it was written in very poor English or “Greek”.

Instead, the trial court accepted evidence from a state pathologist whose quick inspection of the traumatized 18-year-old was pervasive and riddled with “gaps and inaccuracies.”

Vital DNA evidence was also ignored, while Papathanasiou did not accept testimonies from friends about the girl’s state of shock at the time she reported the rape.

Michael Polak, who heads Justice Abroad, said the appeal verdict was a “damning indictment.”
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Image:

KATIA CHRISTODOULOU / EPA-EFE / REX)

bad timing

Like the police, the trial court misunderstood the timing of the sexual assault because it misunderstood the defendant’s version of events, the court ruled.

“Starting from this misunderstanding, [it] wrongly inferred that the rape did not take place,” said Justice Abroad, the legal aid group that coordinated the appeal to the Cyprus supreme court.

Witness credibility

In a very unusual step, the Supreme Court referred to the credibility of the witnesses whose testimonies supported the conviction.

He described the trial court’s assessment of the witnesses as so “insecure, insecure and insufficient” that it created doubts “about its correctness” in the minds of Britain’s Chief Justice Persefone Panayi and her two fellow jurists.

In light of the evidence, there was a reasonable doubt that the defendant had lied, the judges said, and a very real possibility, impossible to rule out, that the rape had taken place.

Andreas Pittadjis, a Cypriot lawyer for the British who accused the Israelis of rape
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AFP/Fake Images)

Now what?

“It’s a damning accusation,” said Michael Polak, who runs Justice Abroad. “It is damning not only because of the way the investigation was conducted, but also because of the way the trial judge evaluated the evidence.”

The Briton’s legal team is now pushing for the police to reopen the investigation into the rape claim. The Israelis, most of whom are army cadets, have denied the accusations, although DNA tests have shown that at least three had had sex with her.

Polak said: “We hope that the Cypriot authorities will transfer the matter to a different police force for a proper investigation, which is their legal duty.”

The Briton, who is enrolled at university in the UK, is not interested “in the money”, he told the Mirror. “She is not interested in financial compensation, she is interested in justice.”




www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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