Man charged with rape and harassment of colleague
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Man charged with rape and harassment of colleague

24-year old Swede denied bail after arraignment under arrest

The court rejected a request for bail due to the nature of the offences and possible interference with the evidence.

The court rejected a request for bail due to the nature of the offences and possible interference with the evidence.

A man has been remanded in custody on Monday after pleading not guilty to allegedly raping and harassing a work colleague.

Marcel Andreas Ekvall Parada, a 24-year old Swedish national, residing in Sliema and locally employed in the financial sector, was arraigned under arrest, pleading not guilty to rape and harassment of the alleged victim, a co-worker and co-national.

The man was further charged with the unauthorized possession of cocaine.

As the arraignment kicked off, defence counsel Alfred Abela requested the court to appoint a court expert so as to preserve messages exchanged between the alleged victim and the accused via Messenger on a particular date in December.

Dr Abela further requested that the same expert be authorized by the Court to recover footage from CCTV cameras in the vicinity of the place where the alleged facts of the case took place.

The prosecution informed the Court that, in fact, a technical expert had already been nominated in the ongoing inquiry and that the mobile phones of both the alleged victim and the accused had been confiscated and handed over to the expert.

In the light of these submissions, duty magistrate Doreen Clarke upheld the defence lawyer’s requests, ordering the expert involved to ensure that the relative Messenger chat and footage be duly preserved in the acts of the case.

A request for the accused’s release from arrest was strongly objected to by the prosecution, pointing out that the allegations were of a very serious and intimate nature.

Moreover, since the alleged victim and the accused shared the same workplace and also common friends, the link between them was very strong and the possibility of tampering with evidence was a real risk.

Besides, the victim was still to testify, the prosecution argued.

On the other hand, Dr Abela countered that the gravity of the charges was not enough to go against the natural course of bail being granted.

Besides, the testimony of the alleged victim and a third party had already been preserved under oath, thereby there being no real danger of interference in the course of justice, Dr Abela continued.

“Here we have a 24-year old foreign national, being charged with a very serious crime but who collaborated fully and indicated in his statement to the police every step of the way,” argued Dr Abela, adding that his client would abide by all conditions imposed by court and would even seek another job, if necessary.

However, after having heard all submissions, the court turned down the request for bail in view of the nature of the offences and the possible interference with the evidence, ordering that the alleged victim and other vulnerable witnesses be brought to testify at the first hearing.

Inspectors Paula Ciantar and Joseph Xerri prosecuted.

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