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Beltran in court to appeal rape conviction

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Beltran in court to appeal rape conviction
11:14 CEST+02:00
Opera singer Tito Beltran appeared in court today to appeal his February conviction for the rape a teenage nanny back in 1999 and defend himself against additional suspicions of sexually molesting a child.

Beltran's lawyer Tomas Nilsson said the defence plans to call psychology professor Sven Å. Christianson to testify

“Because we think it will contribute in a constructive way to evaluate the evidence, in particular that related to the Ystad part of the case,” he told the TT news agency, referring to the city in southern Sweden where the rape of the nanny occurred.

Nearly eight years elapsed between the night of the alleged rape in 1999 and when the victim reported it in late 2007.

One question the court will examine is the significance the long delay.

“I think everyone understands that when so much time has passed it's hard to evaluate statements and evaluations need to happen with the utmost caution,” said Nilsson.

The prosecution also plans to call new witnesses during the appeals court proceedings in a trial expected to receive blanket press coverage in Sweden.

Nearly twenty photographers, reporters, and sketch artists scurried around the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden on Wednesday morning as the trial got underway in Gothenburg.

The trial, which actually consists of two separate proceedings, isn't expected to wrap up before mid-September.

The first part of the trial will examine whether Beltran is guilty of sexually exploiting a six-year-old girl between 2000 and 2002.

Previously, the Varberg district court had acquitted Beltran of all the charges in the case.

The second phase of the trial, which is expected to start next week, will address Beltran's conviction for raping an 18-year-old nanny who was working for a fellow musician during the 1999 Rhapsody in Rock tour.

In a controversial judgment, the district court in Ystad sentenced the opera star to two years in prison.

The closely followed trial included testimony from some of Sweden's best known music stars, including Carola Häggkvist, Maria Lundqvist, Anders Berglund and Robert Wells.

Beltran has consistently denied all the charges, and his appeal is expected to attract a great deal of attention as some of Sweden's best known music stars, including Carola Häggkvist, Maria Lundqvist, Anders Berglund and Robert Wells, will once again take the stand.

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