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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Pilot sex deception trial halted
Fadi Sbano
Mr Sbano denies rape and obtaining money by deception
An airline pilot accused of raping a teacher from Pembrokeshire by deception has walked free after the judge at Swansea halted the trial.

Fadi Sbano, 38, from Harrow, London was accused of tricking the woman into having sex with him by claiming it could cure a herpes infection.

Mr Sbano, a former Britannia airways employee, had denied rape by deception and obtaining money by deception

Judge Christopher Morton stopped the trial after hearing legal arguments.

He said matters had come to light which require more investigation.

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

Cancer treatment

During the trial, the prosecution had alleged that Syrian-born Mr Sbano fooled the woman into believing he could cure her herpes by having sex using cream.

He was also accused of deceiving both the woman and her mother into giving his thousands of pounds to buy the cream and to receive treatment for cancer.

The trial ended before Mr Sbano could give evidence.

But his barrister, Bernard Richmond QC, put it to the woman that she had invented the story of him having cancer and that the story of the cream was a complete fabrication.

After ending the trial the judge also dealt with an admitted breach of bail by the pilot.

The court heard Mr Sbano had been due to stand trial in September 2005 but absconded.

In October 2006, Dyfed-Powys Police threatened to place his photograph and details on the BBC Crimewatch programme.

But Mr Sbano, who is thought to have fled to Turkey, returned to Heathrow airport - where he was arrested - two days before the programme was due to be broadcast.

His solicitor Nigel Richardson told the court he had spent a total of seven months in custody 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.


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