A man who spent days in custody after his wife’s teenage daughters made serious taint allegations about him, was released on bail on Tuesday after the girls testified their story was entirely made up.
The 40-year-old Syrian national, who is the second husband of the alleged victims’ mother, was arrested, questioned, charged and taken into custody after police were alerted to a suspected case of defilement “which could not not wait”.
The Appoġġ welfare agency reported the matter after one of the girls, 15, confided in a school friend about how her mother’s husband touched her indecently.
When questioned by officers from the police vice squad, the girl said the man repeatedly made sexual advances to her and touched her intimately.
Her younger sister later said she too had had a similar experience.
The man was taken into custody after pleading not guilty, even as the vulnerable young victims were yet to testify.
But when the girls gave evidence on Monday, via video link, the older sister admitted she lied about the defendant because they argued frequently, over many innocuous matters.
Plan hatched after home Wi-Fi was turned off
She said lately the man had started turning off their home wifi, depriving them of an internet connection. So one day, during a free period at school, they hatched a plan to get him out of the way.
Since their mother would never sever her relationship with the accused, the girl said they decided to tell some of her classmates that she was being sexually abused by the man, knowing full well that the information would get out one way or another.
Her younger sister, though at first reluctant to go along with the plan, eventually agreed when the eldest daughter told her it was the only way to get rid of their mother’s husband.
The plan worked, perhaps more effectively than the girls could have ever hoped.
The 15-year-old testified that she never expected her action to lead to such dire consequences and that’s why she finally decided to tell the truth.
Her younger sister testified that she was initially reluctant to go along with her sister’s plan and even confided in two classmates about it.
She eventually agreed to cooperate with her sister, telling social workers and police that she had been sexually assaulted by the man on one occasion.
Both girls smiled when asked in court to identify the accused.
A social worker also testified to how the eldest daughter called her, insisting she wanted to talk. The girl told him that she had lied about her mother’s husband and wanted to confess.
The social worker immediately summoned the two girls and was quick to inform the prosecutor.
Following the testimonies of the girls, the magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit granted the accused bail against a €500 bond, a personal bond of €20,000, the daily signing of the bail book, a curfew between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. and a child protection order. .
Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defense lawyers.
Inspector John Busuttil prosecuted, assisted by AG attorneys Sean Azzopardi and Kaylie Bonett.
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