The former boyfriend of a 16-year-old girl has been cleared of raping her after she admitted to the police that the sex was consensual.

The girl had testified that her former boyfriend, an 18-year-old, had raped her at his Burmarrad flat after they both left Valletta on a bus in February 2006.

In handing down judgment, Magistrate Jacqueline Padovani said that "a crucial point in the case is that she admitted to the police that the sex was consensual and was worried that criminal action would be taken against him". The court said it was of the opinion that "she changed her version of events because she was scared of her parents".

But besides this very important point, the court noted that her testimony practically did not make any sense. The girl had said that she was taken to the man's apartment where he forced himself upon her after locking the door from the inside. However, court experts said the door only had a lock outside.

Moreover, the court noted that in the girl's testimony "there was a total lack of emotion" and it was as if she was recounting the incident in a parrot-like fashion.

The court ruled that it could only find the accused guilty of defilement, handing down a one-year jail term suspended for two.

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