It is already a marathon trial. Initially, the verdict against five teenagers and young adults (refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran) was supposed to have been passed last November. They are accused of raping a 14-year-old girl several times on Halloween 2019 in an asylum shelter in Illerkirchberg. But the proceedings continue to drag on. An understanding between the parties seems to have failed. The victim is suffering.
As a lawyer for the victim and representative of the accessory prosecution, Wolfram Schädler has first and foremost the well-being of his client, the injured youth, in mind. That is why he would have agreed to the “deal” already made, albeit only with “grave reservations”, as he told the newspaper “Schwäbische Zeitung” on Friday. But the “deal” between the parties involved in the proceedings seems to be out of the question for the time being; it is unclear whether it has finally failed.
Schädler, like the district court, is now preparing for several more days of trial, of which there have already been 17. As a precautionary measure, the court has already scheduled ten more dates; the next day of the trial is scheduled for next Monday, in the hall of the Donauhalle. Actually, the victim was supposed to testify as well, but an illness probably does not allow this.
Even if an agreement between the parties had been successful, the trial would not have ended in one fell swoop. Even then, there would still have been further discussions, and a verdict would only have been reached after the pleas of the prosecution and the defence.
However: In this case, one or the other questioning of the victim as well as one or the other day of the trial could probably be dispensed with. The girl and her family suffered greatly from not being able to close the dark chapter, says Wolfram Schädler. The renowned lawyer for the victim even speaks of the fact that it cannot be ruled out that “suicidal behaviour” could occur. That is how severely the trial affects the victim.
The girl suffered her first horrific experience on Halloween night last year, when she went with the five accused to a refugee shelter in Illerkirchberg (southern Alb-Donau district). There, she was allegedly drugged and raped several times, according to the prosecution.
Since the trial began last summer, she has relived the night in question – as she has to describe the course of events in court over and over again – as a kind of horror without a discernible end.
So far, the girl has always made her statements in camera. The defendants have so far mainly remained silent. However, the court has already given a first impression of how it assesses the accusation based on the testimonies and evidence: quite credible. The majority of the offences seem to be verifiable.
One of the accused, the youngest, is said to have confessed to rape during police questioning. It is possible, however, that this statement cannot be taken into account, as the 15-year-old at the time of the crime was possibly instructed too late that he did not have to incriminate himself. The oldest accused was 27 years old at the time of the crime.
Why the defence lawyers have so far not agreed to the present “deal” – in which only the range of sentences may be determined, but not the actual level of penalties, and the verdict also remains appealable – is not entirely clear. But apparently some of them consider the possible range of sentences to be too high. According to the “Deal”, this should be between two and three and a half years imprisonment for the defendants, who are all in pre-trial detention.
“Still very lenient for such a crime, says Wolfram Schädler, the victim’s lawyer.