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Ralph Gonsalves cleared of rape allegation

AP

Wednesday, February 06, 2008    

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (AP) - St Vincent's prime minister was cleared by a prosecutor Monday of allegations he raped a police officer assigned to guard

his home.

In the complaint filed last week, the 36-year-old policewoman accused premier Ralph Gonsalves of assaulting her on January 3 at his estate in this eastern Caribbean nation.

But the claim was determined to be groundless and lacked medical or genetic evidence, said Colin Williams, director of the independent public prosecutor's office. The officer also failed to provide a detailed police report, he said.

"There is no basis upon which Ralph Gonsalves could be charged for any of the offences as alleged," Williams said. "If this were a case involving an ordinary member of the public, I would not have hesitated to direct the police not to lay any charges."

Attorneys in the former British colony can file private criminal complaints without police approval, which can be heard in court or dismissed by the director of public prosecution.

Gonsalves, police commanders and lawyers for the policewoman - who has gone on sick leave after receiving a transfer to another unit, according to local media reports - could not be reached for comment.

The prime minister vehemently denied the allegations last Friday, calling them "false and malicious" and politically motivated. Gonsalves also rejected an opposition leader's demand that he resign to protect the image of St Vincent and the Grenadines, a string of islands that are home to about 120,000 people.

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