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Beltran released ahead of rape verdict

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Beltran released ahead of rape verdict
16:52 CET+01:00
Opera singer Tito Beltran has been released by Ystad District Court on Monday at the end of his trial on rape charges.

The court released Beltran despite pleas from prosecutor Anna Håkansson for him to be kept locked up while awaiting the verdict. Håkansson wants the Swedish-Chilean tenor to be jailed for at least two years.

"The charges are backed up by evidence and there are no extenuating circumstances. Tito Beltran should be convicted of rape," Håkansson told the court.

The Chilean-Swedish tenor, 42, is accused of raping an 18-year-old nanny at a hotel in Nötesjö, Skåne, in 1999. The alleged rape happened while the singer was in Skåne for a Rhapsody in Rock concert.

The nanny was in court for the final day of the trial. Beltran himself looked pale and was seen exchanging whispered conversations with his wife before sitting down.

“The interview with the plaintiff was unbelievably strong. Her story has all the signs of describing something she experienced herself,” said Håkansson.

But Beltran's lawyer, Tomas Nilsson, argued that it was not enough for the former nanny's testimony to appear credible. The quality of the evidence should be the deciding factor, he argued.

According to Nilsson, his client was reported to the police in a bid to damage his reputation and bring about the reversal of a verdict in a previous sex offence case. Beltran was cleared last year of charges of sexually abusing a girl, who is now aged 13, between 2000 and 2002.

Nilsson told the court that Beltran's future was at stake. Pointing to faults in the police investigation and contradictory evidence from witnesses, Nilsson called for the prosecution's case to be rejected by the court.

Beltran himself addressed his alleged victim as the trial drew to a close:

"Can't you confess and say it like it is? I have never raped you and you know it," he told her. Beltran went on to give a detailed account of several of the main arguments in the case. He then turned again to the alleged victim:

"If I have made advances against you then I apologize. But as God and my children are my witnesses, I would never rape anyone," he said.

The nanny, who worked for actress Maria Lundqvist, did not press charges until spring 2007, nearly eight years after the alleged incident.

The trial has seen a number of Swedish stars take to the stand to give evidence. They have included Eurovision stalwart Carola Häggqvist, Rhapsody in Rock organizer Robert Wells and Maria Lundqvist herself.

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