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Historic rape case a matter of truth or lies

Historic rape case a matter of truth or lies

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Historic rape case a matter of truth or lies

Guernsey's Royal Court will today decide whether a man is guilty of indecently assaulting and raping a woman both when she was a child, and when she was in her twenties.

Allegedly, when he was in his late teens, the accused took the woman, who was around 11, out on dog walks and bike rides, where he assaulted her, and raped her numerous times over the course of five years.

Other allegations relate to times when they were both at the same house, where he reportedly seized any opportunity he could to sexually exploit her. These alleged offences only came to light in recent years, when the woman claimed she was again assaulted by this man after they both attended a wedding. 

In total, the man is facing nine charges. The first eight cover the childhood allegations, and the ninth is that of the wedding. 

Guernsey Police Station

The defendant was arrested in 2017, and kept in a police cell all day, between three short interviews. Advocate Peter Ferbrache said the trauma of this situation explained details he left out in this very first accounts. 

Count one states that the man indecently assaulted his victim when she was lying on her front in a playroom. Count two is another indecent assault that took place in a bathroom, and count three says he used a tooth brush to indecently assault her. 

Count four covers all other potential indecent assaults - of which it is said there could have been many - that took place between 1999 and 2004.

Count five is for inciting gross indecency, count six and seven for raping the victim on specific occasions, and count eight for any other rapes in that same period.

Magistrate court

Reporting restrictions have been in place on the trial since last Monday to prevent witness cross-contamination. 

The man has been on trial before Guernsey's Royal Court for the last week, with a range of evidence being presented to the Jurats and Judge Russell Finch.

Advocate Peter Ferbrache has been defending the man, and has said the alleged victim has completely fabricated the claims. He has pointed to inconsistencies in the evidence she has given throughout proceedings and compared that to police interviews she did when she was 18 (when she decided not to press charges) and following the wedding incident. Advocate Ferbrache also called a number of character witnesses to the stand, all of whom said the man was honest, and that they would not believe the woman even if she was sworn under oath. 

Evidence also suggested that the man may not have been in Guernsey at the time of some of the allegations, as he and his family had been travelling and he had attended boarding school. 

"There was simply insufficient opportunity for the number of instances alleged to have occurred. What she says in relation to the alleyway is so far fetched and so unreliable that the court cannot rely on it," Advocate Ferbrache said in his closing speech yesterday.

"The evidence is so overwhelmingly in the defendant's favour, not just by a margin. He should leave this court tomorrow without a stain on his character." 

Crown Advocate Rory Calderwood disagreed with the defence. He pointed to one of their stronger pieces of evidence to say the man had clearly committed these offences. 

That evidence was the ring of a condom and a condom wrapper with the expiry date of 2005 on it. Both those items were found in an outbuilding, where the woman was allegedly raped by the man when she was 11.

the guet

Many of the alleged offences took place around the Guet. 

Before this condom was found, in an interview with police she said the man had thrown one aside after using it. Years later, with the help of police, she identified the building, and it was then that they found the condom, which was mostly decayed. There was no DNA on this item, and it was not clear if it had, or had not been used.

Advocate Calderwood said: "If [she] was a liar, and making things up, then she would have been open to say she remembered all of the details in this case. Think about the measured way the complainant described this more recent event. Why would she make so many concessions in his favour if it was all a pack of lies.

"The evidence [of the condom] should be all too obvious. It is a truly remarkable discovery. That building, we heard, had been untouched for years and years, and it was the only thing the police found.

"Either [she] is telling you the truth, or she is lying about everything." 

Judge Finch was due to sum up the trial this morning in the Royal Court, with a verdict likely to be delivered later today. 

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