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Cyprus

Video link request delays Napa rape claim trial

The trial of a 19-year-old British woman has been adjourned until November 1 after a defence request to conduct an interview via video-link, Judge Michalis Papathanasiou confirmed on Thursday.

The delay is due to a lack of technical facilities at the Paralimni Court House, meaning proceedings will move to Larnaca which is properly equipped.

The defence witness, who cannot attend in person, is understood to be an expert psychologist, currently working in the United Kingdom.

In a brief exchange with the judge, Prosecutor Adam Demosthenous said he could not accept the deposition of the psychologist without the possibility of conducting a cross-examination.

Just after 11am, the defendant, her lawyers, the prosecution and press filed into the tiny court, before being dismissed minutes later.

In this highly publicised case, the British teenager claims she was gang-raped by 12 Israeli holidaymakers in July, but was later forced by police to retract her accusation.

The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, looked disappointed at the delay, as she left the courtroom flanked by her legal team. It had been anticipated that the trial would have concluded today.

“She was obviously upset as regards to the latest adjournment, she wants to get home as soon as possible, but she also wants justice to be done, so she is determined to stay here until this happens,” defence attorney Michael Polak said.

The Paralimni court, which shares a building with several businesses, is basic in the extreme, devoid of microphones which at times prevents witnesses and judge to hear and be heard clearly.

In testimony earlier this week, the defendant insisted the rape happened, whist the retraction statement was a police fabrication.

The young woman will be required to remain in Cyprus under existing bail conditions

Last week, a dozen civil society organisations sent an appeal to the attorney-general in Nicosia to throw the case out.

 

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