Cyprus court finds 19 year-old British woman guilty

Focused Practice

Cyprus' attorney general said Tuesday he couldn't suspend the trial of a 19 year-old British woman found guilty of lying about being gang raped by as many as dozen Israelis because she had leveled “grave accusations” against police investigators that had to be adjudicated in court.

Costas Clerides said the woman's allegation that police coerced her into retracting her rape claim “could not have been left to linger” so he could not move to suspend the trial.

Clerides also said the woman's insistence that she didn't get a fair trial is “essentially a legal-constitutional matter" that a courtof law must rule on.

“Any intervention on the part of the attorney general, either for reasons of public interest or any other reasons, would have constituted nothing more than an obstacle to ascertaining the true facts of the case, as well as interference in the judiciary's work," Clerides said in a statement.

The woman, who hasn't been named was found guilty on Monday on a charge of public mischief and is due to be sentenced Jan. 7. The charge carries a maximum of a year in prison and a fine of 1,700 euros ($1, 907).

She insists that she was raped in a hotel room at a coastal resort town on July 17 and that she was forced to sign the retraction 10 days later while under police questioning. Her lawyers said they would appeal the decision, citing the judge's refusal to consider evidence that she had been raped.

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