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Man walks free after rape arrest on cruise ship in NZ

January 16, 2019 Headline News No Comments
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A man accused of raping a woman on a cruise ship docked in Port Chalmers, in the New Zealand South Island city of Dunedin, has had charges against him dismissed.

The location of the alleged assault was the cruise ship Noordam. See: Man arrested on cruise ship in NZ faces rape charges

Ronald Sagum Ramirez (34) was due to face a jury trial in the Dunedin District Court this month but charges were dropped, the Otago Daily Times has reported.

Ramirez was held after an alleged incident on 12 December 2018. The Otago Daily Times reported that the suspect had been remanded in custody to appear in court on charges of sexually violating a woman by rape and unlawful sexual connection.

The maximum sentence theoretically is 40 years imprisonment, each charge carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years.

The complainant and the suspect were known to each other, a detective told Fairfax in New Zealand. Holland America Line was reported to have confirmed that the victim was a female crewmember and the incident had not involved any passengers.

When Ramirez appeared in court, however, charges were dropped.

The prosecution said it would offer no evidence and Judge Emma Smith dismissed the charges, the Otago Daily Times related.

This followed an earlier pre-trial argument over how the New York-based complainant would give evidence.

The prosecution had applied to have her testify by video link but Ramirez’s defence counsel opposed that.

There was no discussion in court as to why the case was dropped but Ramirez walked free after the judge’s decision, the paper said.

Written by Peter Needham

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