27 September 2023

17-year-old allegedly raped in Civic laneway texted for help during assault

| Albert McKnight
man in hoodie leaving court

Marco James Ciccardi, 25, was granted bail on Monday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to an alleged sexual assault.

A 17-year-old who says she was pulled into an alleyway and raped by a man she had just met managed to text her friend during the alleged assault, sending her messages like “Help” and “Hurry”.

The teenager had gone out in Civic with a group of friends on 28 July 2023, using someone else’s driver’s licence so she could buy alcohol, court documents say.

They were allegedly dancing in the Braddon bar Hopscotch when Marco James Ciccardi, a 25-year-old from Ireland, joined them and complimented the teenager before the pair began to kiss.

They all allegedly walked to the nightclub Fiction, while Mr Ciccardi repeatedly invited the teenager back to his home, which she declined.

The group then went to another club, Cube, where the teenager’s friends were allowed inside, but she was denied entry, so she agreed to meet them in an hour at Mooseheads Pub and Nightclub.

She did not know how to get to Mooseheads, but it is reported Mr Ciccardi said he did and told her to follow him.

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It was the early hours of 29 July when he allegedly walked her into an alleyway then pushed her into a wall and tried to take her clothes off while she repeatedly told him to stop and tried to call her friends for help.

It is alleged he raped her twice while she tried to push him away.

When one of her friends tried to call her during the alleged assault, Mr Ciccardi is said to have grabbed her phone and threw it on the ground, but not before the teenager had been able to send her friend her location as well as texts that said “Help”, “Stop us” and “Hurry”.

Mr Ciccardi was allegedly trying to carry the teenager further into the laneway when the friend arrived with two strangers she had asked for help and called out, “What the f–k are you doing?”

The teenager walked to them and they returned to Cube, where security staff allegedly told him to leave after he followed them. Police were contacted a few days later.

Mr Ciccardi was charged with two counts each of sexual intercourse without consent and assault in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (26 September).

He applied for bail, which was opposed by prosecutor James Melloy, who said he was in Australia on a temporary visa that would expire in February 2024, so he had few links to the ACT.

Mr Melloy also said the alleged offending was “brazen in its nature” and that police suspected Mr Ciccardi was a heavy user of alcohol who drank most weekends.

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Legal Aid’s Sam Brown said his client worked full-time, and while he was in the country on a temporary visa, arrangements could be put in place to ensure he answered his charges. He also said it was not unexpected he regularly drank alcohol as he was a young man.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker also thought provisions could be put in place to assuage the concerns that he was in the country on a temporary visa.

She granted bail on conditions including that he report to police each day, live at Coombs, reside under a curfew, not contact the teenager and surrender his passport.

The matter was adjourned to 16 October. No pleas were entered.

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