Cyprus Mail

Video-link testimony expected to back British teenager’s statements

An expert due to testify today by video link at the trial of a British teenager is expected to support that her statement retracting claims she was gang raped in Ayia Napa was “highly unlikely” to have been written by a native English speaker.

The woman, 19, is on trial charged with public mischief for allegedly inventing the attack at an Ayia Napa hotel on July 17.

A dozen Israeli tourists were arrested but were released and returned home after she made a retraction statement 10 days later.

Prosecutors say the teenager willingly wrote and signed the document, but she claims she was forced by police to change her story with the words dictated in “Greek English” by Detective Sergeant Marios Christou.

Lawyer Michael Polak, director of the group Justice Abroad, which is assisting the teenager, said an 18-page report by forensic linguist Dr Andrea Nini will back her case.

“He’s done a mathematical analysis of the words in her statement and concluded it’s highly unlikely they would be the words of a native English speaker rather than someone who speaks English as a second language,” Polak said.

The statement says it was written “on [the teenager’s] own free will” and that she “discovered them recording [her] doing sexual intercourse”.

Giving evidence in mid-October, she said: “I’m very well educated. I’m going to university, I got an unconditional offer so there is no way I would write a paragraph like this.”

The woman’s lawyers will ask Judge Michalis Papathanasiou to hear University of Manchester lecturer Dr Nini’s evidence by video-link at a court in Larnaca on Friday as part of a bid to persuade him to rule the retraction statement is inadmissible.

The judge is also expected to hear from a forensic psychologist, who will give evidence about the teenager’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects her in stressful situations.

The teenager was a week into a working holiday before she was due to start university when she alleged she was raped by the group of young Israeli men.

She spent more than a month in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but cannot leave the island, having surrendered her passport.

She could face up to a year in jail and a €1,700 fine if she is found guilty.

The teenager’s family have set up a crowdfunding page asking for money for legal costs, which has raised more than £40,000.


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