Judge rules girls must face 'abuser' in court
18 May 2005, BARCELONA — Four girls who claim they were sexually abused by their former karate instructor have had to face him in court without a screen for protection.
18 May 2005
BARCELONA — Four girls who claim they were sexually abused by their former karate instructor have had to face him in court without a screen for protection.
A judge ordered that they would have to face their alleged abuser without the normal protection of a screen afforded in sex abuse cases.
But one of the girls who was due to give evidence has suffered a nervous breakdown, judicial sources at the court in Barcelona said.
The father of the girl said: "She would not stop crying and had convulsions. We had to tell her that she would not have to appear in court.
"For me it has been terrible to force her to come to court but otherwise she would not have come."
The girl was allegedly abused between 2002 and 2003 by her teacher, named only as Francesc C.S., when she was aged between eight and nine years old.
The alleged offences happened at a state-run school in Barcelona.
She allegedly suffered the most serious abuse among the four girls.
Prosecutors have asked that if the former teacher is found guilty of abusing all the girls he serve a total of 23 years in jail.
They had asked if the youngest girl's video evidence, which she gave when she was being questioned by police about the case, can be played to court.
But this was rejected by the judge, Pedro Martin, who said the girls should testify in front of the defendant.
Despite evidence from psychologists that giving evidence while face-to-face with their alleged abuser could prove harmful, the judge has ruled they must appear before the court face to face the defendant.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news