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Alleged rape victim was accused of crying on cue during cross-examination

The woman has been awarded €13,500 after the European Court of Human Rights ruled she was mistreated during the course of her trial.

Image: Shutterstock/ChameleonsEye

THE EUROPEAN COURT of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that the Slovenian police failed to protect the personal integrity of an alleged rape victim during a criminal investigation and trial.

This was in a case where the alleged victim, referred to only as Ms Y, claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by a family friend while still a teenager.

During the course of the investigation the defendant personally cross-examined Y, maintaining that due to a physical impediment he would have been unable to assault her.

As part of their ruling, the ECtHR also said that it was inappropriate that the defendant accused Y of being able to cry on cue in the course of his cross-examination.

Detail

In the case, Ms Y, who was born in 1987, had come to Slovenia from the Ukraine with her mother in 2000.

The alleged assaults are said to have happened when she was 14 years old by a 55-year-old family friend who used to take care of Y with his wife and help her prepare for beauty competitions.

It is claimed that between July and December 2001 he forced her to engage in sexual intercourse with him numerous times.

Y’s mother first made a criminal complaint against the man concerned in July 2002.

The case looked at two gynaecological reports that did not prove or disprove the allegation. There was also a psychological report that showed Y to display the symptoms of a sexual abuse victim, and a orthopaedics report that found that defendant would not have been able to overpower Y due to having a disabled left arm.

During the course of the gynaelogical examinations, Y had been confronted by the doctor with the results of the orthopaedic report, with her being asked why she had not put up a greater resistance to the defendant’s attacks.

Ruling

The ECtHR found in favour of Y on all the complaints that were made to the court.

It was found that she had been made to wait for an undue length of time (7 years) for a first-instance judgement to be made on the case and that the State had failed in their “requirements for promptness”.

It was also found that while the defendant had a right to cross-examine Y, the fact that the questioning had been held over four hearings in a seven-month period had compromised her personal integrity.

It was also found that the doctor compiling the gynaecological report had “exceeded the scope of his task” by asking about the orthopaedic report.

The court ordered that Slovenia was to pay Ms Y €9,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and €4,000 for costs and expenses.

Read: Corporal punishment to be outlawed in foster care – James Reilly

Also: ECHR rules detention of Irish citizens for terror offences not unlawful

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