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Additional witness testimonies in Napa rape case rejected

ÅÐÁÑ×ÉÁÊÏ ÄÉÊÁÓÔÇÑÉÏ ÁÌÌÏ×ÙÓÔÏÕ ÄÉÊÇ 19×ÑÏÍÇÓ ÁÐÏ ÔÇ ÌÅÃÁËÇ ÂÑÅÔÁÍÉÁ
The British woman appearing in Famagusta court in October 2019

The British woman convicted of lying over being gang raped in Ayia Napa in 2019 had her application to produce two witness testimonies rejected, her lawyer confirmed to the Cyprus Mail.

The teenager is appealing her conviction at the supreme court but a date for the hearing has not yet been set.

It was announced on Wednesday that the supreme court has blocked a request by the British woman’s defence team which had moved to present two sworn statements.

Judges instead sided with the prosecutors who argued that the teenager had defamed the Cypriot judicial system and also referred to what one of her own lawyers had previously said.

In their objections to the appeals, the prosecutors argued that the appeal was invalid as the defendant had previously made “offensive comments” in the media against the judge.

They further claimed that a remorse statement by the then 19-year-old’s defence team essentially eliminated the right to appeal.

The statement which prosecutors referred to are those of Ritsa Pekri, who had told Judge Michalis Papathanasiou in December 2019 that: “The defendant has repented for her act, I want to make clear that the reason she did what she did was because she was under emotional distress.”

The then- teenager claimed she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the town of Ayia Napa before being charged herself after signing a retraction statement 10 days later.

Addressing these concerns, the Briton’s lawyer Nikoletta Charalambidou told the Cyprus Mail that: “She never gave instructions to say that she feels sorry for what she committed – implying that she admitted to the offence.”

And as for the ‘offensive comments’ issue, Charalambidou explained that: “There is some case law from our supreme court suggesting that when a person shows disrespect to the judicial system or the judge then there is a bar from further pursuing their rights in front of the same judicial system that they ‘chose to disrespect’ … but this raises the issue of freedom of speech.”

It is understood that the comments which were deemed to be inflammatory were made in ITV’s ‘Believe Me’ documentary.

“You cannot expect that people in the judicial process lose their right to freedom of expression and lose their right to talk about the alleged violation of their human rights,” Charalambidou said.

Local media reported that Supreme Court Judges Tefkros Economou, Leonidas Parparinos, and Ioannis Ioannides, rejected the statements from the defence but noted that they were not making any rulings on the overall appeal or objections raised by the prosecution.

“All these matters remain and will be examined through the appeals procedure,” the judges concluded.

 

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