The British young woman accused of making false statements in a rape complaint in Ayia Napa has been set free on bail, while her legal team is expected to include high-powered British attorneys.
During an arraignment hearing that was scheduled on Monday, the 19-year-old British teenager pleaded not guilty to charges of public mischief.
The woman is being accused of making false statements to police in a rape complaint she had filed against Israeli teens back in July. Twelve suspects were detained and subsequently released after police said they had arrested the rape accuser who allegedly withdrew the allegations.
But reports later emerged saying the girl was pressured to recant her story, with police flatly denying allegations of misconduct.
The teen was allowed to walk free on Monday after bail was set at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, with reports saying she will have to report to a police station three times a week while pending trial.
A fundraiser for the teen has raised close to €26,000, which allowed her to afford both Cypriot and British lawyers.
Cypriot attorney Nicoletta Charalambidou, who represents the teenager, reportedly told the judge that her client wished to be represented by a British lawyer. A letter sent to the attorney general last week made a formal request, pending the attorney general’s approval. Additional reports said the letter included a request to drop the charges altogether.
Two British lawyers, Lewis Power and Michael Polak, will defend the teenager in the Paralimni courtroom following the go ahead expected from the attorney general’s office.
According to Church Court Chamber’s online information, Power is a criminal attorney known for taking on difficult international cases involving regulatory issues, fraud and corruption, as well as rape and murder.
Polak, who has worked on cases with Power in the past, specializes in criminal, public, and human rights law according to Church Court Chamber’s online information.
If the trial goes forward, the two British barristers are expected to appear next to Charalambidou, a well known local immigration and human rights lawyer. The trial is set to begin on October 2.
Knews understands the defence will focus on how their client was treated by police, with reports saying she was allegedly pressured into signing a false confession without access to legal counsel and was further threatened that her friends would get arrested on conspiracy charges if she did not recant her story.
Cypriot police say the teen withdrew her allegations on her own volition, denying any allegations of misconduct.
In the meantime, criticism has been growing in Israel over the teenagers’ use of social media after some of them reportedly uploaded sex videos with the British teen against her will, an offence punishable by law in their country.
Media have speculated that the sex videos played at least a partial role in the events leading up to the rape complaint in the first place. [Kathimerini Cyprus]