Former UM dean acquitted of rape charges

John Mo

The former dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Macau (UM), John Mo, was acquitted from all the charges of rape, the Court of First Instance (TJB) ruled on Friday.

Mo was immediately released from the preventive custody in which he had spent almost nine months since June last year.

According to the decision of the court, announced by the judge that presided over the trial, it was not proven beyond reasonable doubt that the former UM professor had forced the student who pressed charges against him into any form of sexual act.

Evidence included surveillance camera footage from bars and other public venues where Mo and the student had been together, in which it is shown that the student never tried to refuse any of Mo’s advances. According to the TJB, this footage indicates that the sexual contact among the two was consensual.

The TJB said there was proof that the scholar did have sexual contact with the complainant, but that such acts were consented to and did not fit with the definition of rape.

Equally, the other two defendants on the case, Lei Iok Pui and Yang Manman, who were also accused of the crimes of rape and inaction, were also found not guilty.

The trial, which gathered a lot of media interest, was held behind closed doors on Jan. 25, reaching the sentencing stage in just two audiences, with a single audience in which all the defendants and the witnesses were heard.

While exiting the court, Mo’s lawyer Oriana Pun said that the accusations from the complainant were found to be groundless, expressing satisfaction with the decision of the court. “The [alleged] victim made her statements in court and then vanished,” she said, noting that the student was always represented in court by the Public Prosecution.

“The judges were very well prepared,” Pun said. “What was said is true. Although the trial lasted only a day, we were all prepared and we all watched the video. So it was quick and effective.” Pun remarked that the court accepted and agreed with most of the defendant’s views and doubts regarding the case.

As for further actions regarding the case, Pun said that the defense is still evaluating further actions, though noted that it is “a right of her client to sue the complainant,” and that further actions regarding the termination of contract by the UM are “still being considered.”

Mo had been listed as a suspect in June 2018 when a student from the mainland pressed charges against him for rape.

The investigation that followed led the UM to terminate the contract with Mo, who was at the time Dean of the Faculty of Law.  RM

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