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Cyprus

Pathologist finds evidence to support British woman’s rape claim

The British woman at a previous court hearing

Well-known forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis testified on Friday that the medical conclusions of his state-employed colleague in the Ayia Napa rape case were wrong and that there was evidence of rape.

State pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous had told Famagusta district court last week that a British teenager who claims she was raped by a group of young Israeli tourists in Ayia Napa in July bore no physical signs consistent with a serious sexual assault. Matsakis, giving evidence for defence, told the same court on Friday that both the report’s findings as well as special DNA tests and photographs prove that “the rape could take place and are consistent with the rape taking place”.

Matsakis said that he disagreed with Sophocleous who recorded only a few light bruises on the young woman’s thighs and scratches on her legs that were not consistent with gang rape. Matsakis said that many of the bruises Sophocleous dismissed as “old” were actually from the same period as the alleged rape.

“I don’t have any doubts that violence was exercised on the body of the examined person to have these bruises. I am sure violence was exercised,” he said.

“Even if the bruises and injuries on the teenager’s body were just the ones recorded by Sophoclous my conclusion would be the same: they are consistent with the rape taken place.”

He said that even if there had been no physical signs of a serios physical assault on the teenager’s body, that would not have meant that the rape hadn’t take place because “absence of trauma to a rape victim does not negate the validity of her claim of rape.”

The expert quoted a passage from Forensic Pathology, a book written by Dominic and Vincent DiMaio: “In an analysis of 451 rape victims examined at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas only 34 per cent showed any evidence of trauma (abrasions, contusions, lacerations)”   

Matsakis criticised the way Sophocleous conducted the examinations, especially the fact that the upper part of the 19-year-old’s body was not examined while according to the testimony she gave last week, during the alleged rape one of the Israelis “put his knees on her shoulders” so she could not move.

“The examination was not done correctly. The report is deficient. The photography is deficient. The upper part of the body, the torso, was not photographed. In fact, I doubt it was examined at all. There was no proper examination of the vagina either, which is wrong, especially since blood has been found,” Matsakis said.

The expert also quoted from the DNA test report done by a geneticist that registered the presence of DNA from four suspects on the accused’s body, her clothes, the inside of the condom found in the Pambos Rock Hotel’s room where the alleged rape took place as well as the bed sheets in the same room.

During the cross-examination, state prosecutor Adam Demosthenous showed Matsakis the medical reports of the Israeli men the teenager accused of the alleged rape.

“I didn’t see these reports before,” the expert told the Cyprus Mail after the cross-examination. “Thanks to the fact that the prosecutor showed them to me I found out that three of these men had some injuries. This helps my case. I said to him ‘thank you very much’. I used them to my advantage.”

The teenager claimed in July that she had been gang-raped by the group of Israeli men but two weeks later signed a police statement in which she retracted the claim. She is on a trial on a charge of public mischief for which she could be jailed for a year.

Her lawyers insist she was raped and only signed the retraction because she was suffering from extreme trauma and subjected to aggressive questioning by police officers without a lawyer or family member for eight hours.

The trial case will continue next Thursday with closing submission by the prosecutor and defence team. 

 


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