A judge’s “discourtesy” towards a British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus will form part of her appeal against her conviction.
The 19-year-old woman told police she was attacked by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the holiday town of Ayia Napa on July 17 last year.
She was charged with public mischief after signing a retraction statement 10 days later but maintained in court she was pressured by officers to withdraw the rape allegation.
Her case provoked international outrage when she was found guilty by Judge Michalis Papathanasiou in January at the Famagusta district court in Paralimni and handed a four-month jail term, suspended for three years.
Lawyers representing the teenager have now submitted a 154-page skeleton argument ahead of an appeal against the conviction, which is expected to be heard in the island country’s Supreme Court later this year.
“It will be submitted that the judge at the district court did not provide the defendant with a fair hearing and closed his mind to an essential element of the offence by continuously shouting ‘this is not a rape trial, I don’t want to hear evidence about rape’ as well as preventing the defence team from properly examining and putting forward evidence which supported the teenager’s account that a rape had taken place as described,” her lawyers said.
“It will be submitted on behalf of the teenager that as well as seeming to prejudge elements of the offence as set out above, the trial judge also acted with discourtesy towards the teenager and the defence representative in such a way so as to deny the teenager a fair trial.”
The teenager, from Derbyshire, flew back to the UK shortly after she was sentenced and has vowed to clear name.
Her lawyers will argue the judge did not properly consider evidence, including DNA evidence of three of the Israeli tourists on a condom found with blood on it, which suggested she had been raped, and had “not acted without bias”.
The Justice Abroad group’s Michael Polak, who is co-ordinating the appeal, said: “We have submitted a detailed skeleton argument which sets out exactly why the teenager’s conviction, which was reported around the world in January, is unsafe and needs to be overturned.
“This skeleton refers to a number of authorities from Cyprus, common law jurisdictions and the European Court of Human Rights which strongly support what we have been saying about this case for a long time, that the teenager should not have been found guilty and that for her to have to go through life with this conviction would be a miscarriage of justice.”
The 12 Israeli young men and boys, aged between 15 and 20, arrested over the incident denied wrongdoing, were freed and returned home.