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Rape Conviction Upheld

A MAN who challenged his conviction for raping an elderly American woman in her timeshare unit had his appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Mark Marvin Bethel, 41, of Freeport, Grand Bahama, was seeking to have the court overturn the conviction handed down to him in 2009.

However, presiding Justices Christopher Blackman, Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh ruled that Bethel’s appeal had no merit and did not support his claim that medical evidence should have been produced to prove the prosecution’s case.

They dismissed the appeal and affirmed his sentence for the crime.

Bethel was convicted in the Supreme Court in April 2009 for the offence, which occurred on July 23, 2007.

An 81-year-old woman from Arizona was the victim.

According to evidence presented in the trial, the rape occurred after the victim and her husband’s dinner date at the Xanadu Beach Resort.

As they were about to leave, she was approached by a man who began talking to her and introduced himself as the resort manager.

He told her he was also a masseur and said she had been chosen for a free massage. He walked and talked with her all the way back to the couple’s timeshare unit.

According to the evidence, the victim told to change. She did, and after she lay down on the bed on her stomach, he began to massage her.  

During the massage, in which the victim’s clothing was removed, the trial heard a sexual assault took place.

A nine-member jury of seven women and two men heard this evidence from the complainant and other witnesses.

On April 28, 2009, Bethel was convicted on the offence and sentenced to five years imprisonment by Justice Vera Watkins after his 22 months on remand was taken into consideration.

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