Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Accused Rapist Holds Own Trial to Ransom

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Accused Rapist Holds Own Trial to Ransom

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew korner andrew.korner@qt.com.au

THE trial of an elderly man accused of raping a teenage girl got off to a difficult start at Ipswich District Court yesterday.

Greek-speaking defendant Antonios Stappas, 67, caused frequent delays during yesterday's proceedings with constant interjections, which then had to be translated by a court-appointed interpreter.

The disruption started while Stappas was being arraigned.

As Judge Deborah Richards' associate read out the charge of rape, Stappas became agitated.

"I don't like this word rape - can you please re-phrase the question," his interpreter said on his behalf.

"I am not a rapist."

"So will that be a plea of not guilty then?" Judge Richards replied.

In his opening address Crown prosecutor John Copley told the jury Stappas, his wife and their daughters had known the 17-year-old alleged victim's family for several years before the alleged rape occurred in 2007.

The girl's family would look out for Stappas, the court was told, and would get his mail when he was not home. …

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