The appearance of a sexual assault survivor is “wholly irrelevant” and a “non-decisive” element of sexual misconduct trials, the Supreme Court of Cassation ruled on Tuesday.
Two men had initially been convicted in 2016 of raping the woman, then aged 22, in 2015, but three female judges at the Ancona appeals court later acquitted the men.
The woman, who has not been named, had claimed one of the men raped her while the other stood guard after they had spiked her drink with drugs.
The men were convicted after doctors found her injuries were consistent with rape and her blood showed levels of benzodiazepines, a tranquiliser.
The judges said in their report that the woman’s story was not credible as she was “too masculine” and the men didn’t find her attractive.
“[The accused] didn’t even like the girl, to the point of having stored her number in his phone under the nickname ‘Viking’, an allusion to an anything but feminine figure, rather a masculine one,” the report read.
“The photograph present in her file would appear to confirm this.”
After the judges’ reasoning was made public last month, their sentence was annulled by the Court of Cassation amid protests in Ancona.
The court ordered a new appeals trial, quashing the acquittal of the two men.