"Penis cream" pilot walks free

First published in News

A Syrian born airline pilot accused of raping a schoolteacher from Haverfordwest by deception has walked free from court after the judge suddenly halted the trial.

Judge Christopher Morton said Fadi Sbano, 38, should not face a retrial.

Judge Morton listened to legal argument by both the prosecution and defence teams before calling the jury back into Swansea crown court on Tuesday and telling them he was ending the trial. No verdicts were returned.

He said there had been "concerns" about the conduct of the case but they did not reflect on either the prosecution or defence barristers or solicitors.

But matters had come to light which required further investigation.

Judge Morton then turned to a breach of bail by Sbano, which he admitted.

Huw Rees, prosecuting, said Sbano had been due to stand trial on September 12, 2005, but absconded.

Sbano's solicitor Nigel Richardson said he had spent a total of seven months in custody--partly because of the breach of bail--and urged the judge not to impose a further jail sentence.

Judge Morton agreed that because of the length of time he had spent on remand no separate penalty would be imposed.

During the trial, the prosecution had alleged that Sbano, from Harrow, fooled the woman into believing he could cure her herpes by having sexual intercourse with cream applied on the end of his penis.

He was also accused of deceiving both her and her mother into giving him thousands of pounds to buy the cream.

Sbano denied rape by deception and obtaining money by deception.

The trial ended before Sbano could give evidence but his barrister, Bernard Richmond QC, put it to the woman that she had invented the story.

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