Basel Criminal Court
Evidence in Heuwaage case too thin: acquitted of rape charge
The defendant in the alleged rape case at the Lohweg underpass is acquitted of the main allegations. The Basel Criminal Court found him guilty of sexual harassment.
At the end of October 2021, a young man allegedly raped a woman in the underpass near the Heuwaage and previously sexually assaulted another. The Basel Criminal Court heard the case on Tuesday. On Friday morning, the criminal court announced the verdict orally.
The accused was acquitted of rape and sexual assault charges. Basel Criminal Court found him guilty of sexually assaulting another woman; also that night. He was fined 300 francs. The accused was released from prison and received 36,400 francs in compensation, the judge continued. He was in jail four days after the crime. Photos of the alleged attacker were posted on social media, and a real hunt ensued. According to the judge, this made the investigation more difficult.
In doubt for the accused
The court substantiated the verdict in an hour and a half. Ultimately, this was done according to the principle “in dubio pro reo”, in case of doubt for the accused. “The evidence does not support the conclusion that what happened in the underpass was not consensual,” said the judge. That something happened between the two in the Heuwaage underpass is undisputed.
The acquittal had nothing to do with the victim’s behavior in the club, where, according to video material, he was kissing the accused and another man, the judge clarified at the start of the hearing. The images from the surveillance cameras were compared to the statements made by the accused and the complainant.
According to the judge, the video material clearly indicated that the man who allegedly forced the private complainant to perform oral sex in the Balz Club bathroom, as she testified, was someone else. There is also a case against him.
Forensic reports could not prove the rape
The evidence is just not clear. The woman made different statements about various events during the process. In the forensic report, the defendant’s semen was found in the woman’s underwear, but not in her private parts. It was therefore not clearly proven that a sexual intercourse had taken place. No trace of violence could be found on the woman.
The defendant had also made contradictory statements in some cases, as the judge pointed out. The facts listed in the prosecution’s indictment simply could not be substantiated in the end, according to the judge.
Shortly after the verdict was known, the Basel SVP called for video surveillance at Heu Waage:
Let’s be clear: CCTV of this dangerous hotbed of violence would have helped ensure a fair trial. https://t.co/wKzeP28aGB pic.twitter.com/UOMBqsX0Qv
— SVP Basel-City (@svpbasel) May 6, 2022
The public prosecutor had requested a 24-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1,000 francs. She also requested expulsion from the country for a period of eight years. The victim’s lawyer had also claimed compensation of 12,000 francs.
After the verdict was delivered on Friday morning, the suspect’s handcuffs were removed in the courtroom.