A 60-year-old man who sexually molested the young daughter of a friend has been acquitted of all charges after an appeals court found the charges against him were time-barred.
The man had sexually abused a girl from when she was 12-years-old until she was 16-years-old, from 2005 to 2009. He was charged for his crimes in 2015 – over five years after his crimes had taken place.
In his appeal, he pointed out that the acts had taken place in 2009, thus exceeding the five year prescriptive period under Maltese law.
Presiding over the Court of Appeal, Madam Consuelo Scerri Herrera noted that while the courts had no reason to believe that the sexual abuse hadn’t taken place, criminal actions against the man had only been taken after a lapse of five years since the last noted case of abuse. She said this meant his charges were time-barred.
The abuse only came to light after the victim’s boyfriend found out about it
The girl, who was adopted by foster parents at the age of four, had told her boyfriend that one of her family’s eldest friends would force her into giving him oral sex at her foster grandmother’s home.
He lived near the foster grandmother, and would molest her in an upstairs bedroom, away from everyone else. He would also touch her genitals on some occasions, though he never had penetrative sex with her, she said.
The abuse started when she was 12, and continued until she was 16. It was at this point that she began avoiding being alone with the man, and soon after opened up to her boyfriend about the abuse, the court heard.
The boyfriend went straight to the girl’s foster father, who filed a police report in December 2014.
The man denied the accusations, but admitted to police that he had fallen to the girl’s “provocation”
Police charged the man with the defilement of the minor as well as engaging in sexual activity with a minor following their investigations.
He was sentenced to two years in prison for his crimes, but has had his sentence overturned after showing his crime is technically time-barred under Maltese law.
The court ordered the names of the victim and the accused to not be published.