Appeal Court reserves decision in rape appeal

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The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision in the appeal of a man serving a 22-year sentence for raping an elderly neighbour in a home invasion in 2006.

on Tuesday, Justices of Appeal Prakash Moosai, Charmaine Pemberton and Gillian Lucky are expected to give their decision on April 12 in the appeal of Allison Paul, who has complained of his trial.

In March 2018, Paul was convicted of burglary and rape in an incident that took place on June 1, 2006.

The 68-year-old victim was asleep at her home when she awoke to a noise in the kitchen. She tried to open her bedroom door and was attacked by a man who began choking her.

The victim claimed she recognised Paul as the intruder, as he has been her next-door neighbour for almost a year and he had put on the lights in the bedroom before raping her.

She claimed after he raped her, Paul asked for $450 for a windshield for his car and when she told him she did not have money, he threatened to kill her.

Paul testified in his defence during his trial before former High Court judge, now Justice of Appeal Maria Wilson, and claimed the victim mistakenly identified him.

At his appeal on Tuesday, his attorney Daniel Khan maintained the trial was unfair, as the prosecution was allowed to use the victim’s deposition from the preliminary inquiry, since she died a year before the trial before Wilson.

“The entire case was based on the deposition of a dead witness,” Khan submitted.

He said Paul was unable to confront his accuser at the trial and maintained that the victim’s evidence was weak, as she failed to prove he sexually penetrated her without her consent.

“You can draw reasonable inferences, but not for crucial evidence,” Khan said. “Crucial evidence must come from direct evidence.”

Khan’s contention was tested by the judges, who said it violated and destroyed what circumstantial evidence was.

Khan also complained that Wilson allowed bad-character evidence from a woman who claimed Paul has raped her in 2001.

In response, Assistant DPP Nigel Pilgrim dismissed all Khan’s complaits as unmeritorious and challenged his assertion on the identification evidence, pointing out the victim’s testimony was corroborated by oral admissions Paul made to the police when he was arrested.

Pilgrim said Wilson had “painstakingly” gone through the evidence in the case and the legal issues before allowing the victim’s deposition to be used.

Paul was also represented by Ula Nathai-Lutchman and Arissa Maharaj.

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