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Priests In Gozo Child Abuse Case Released On Bail

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Two priests currently facing charges of sexually abusing an altar boy have been released on bail. 

The two priests were charged in court in January this year with defiling a minor and holding him against his will on a number of occasions between 2003 and 2005. The publication of their names has been banned by court order. 

They were charged separately, with one of the two also being accused of raping the altar boy, who was eight at the time. Both pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Monica Vella, who was originally presiding over the case, had denied a request for bail by the accused, noting that other witnesses had yet to testify.

Vella had also ruled that there was enough evidence for a bill of indictment to be issued against the two priests. 

According to ONE News, a fresh request for bail has now been accepted by magistrate Brigitte Sultana, who has taken over the case from Vella. 

The case is being heard behind closed doors after a ruling by Sultana earlier this month in which she accepted a request by the defence for the case to continue behind closed doors. 

She also ordered a ban on the publication of the priests’ names, despite the fact that they had already been made public in previous sittings.

Lawyer Angele Formosa is appearing for both Cini and Sultana, while Joseph Busuttil and Dorianne Tabone are prosecuting. Lawyer Jean Paul Grech appeared on the behalf of the victim.

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