Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Rapper urges rape suspect anonymity

Rapper and former I'm a Celebrity contestant Aggro Santos
Rapper and former I'm a Celebrity contestant Aggro Santos

Former I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! contestant Aggro Santos has called for rape suspects to be given anonymity until they are convicted.

The 24-year-old Brazilian-born rapper, who was cleared of two counts of rape 10 days ago, said being named in the press had "tarnished" his reputation despite his acquittal.

Santos, who made a well-publicised appearance in ITV's Australia-based jungle reality show in 2010, said defendants should be "protected" until any conviction.

He told ITV's Daybreak programme that his ordeal had been like living in a "mental prison" for almost two years and accused the media of writing about his case "as if you were found guilty".

"I have got female members of my family and if anybody had a complaint like that made against them I think courts are fair," he said. "It is fair to do a trial with a jury. But I think the people accused have got to be protected until they are found guilty.

"I went through the whole trial system, I was acquitted, but it doesn't change, it was reported and it is still there."

Santos became well-known after making it to the final six in I'm A Celebrity in 2010. His debut single, Candy, featuring former Pussycat Dolls singer Kimberly Wyatt, shot to number five in the UK charts the same year.

He was accused of raping two girls he had taken back to his hotel rooms after performing at gigs at a club in Yeovil, Somerset, in 2010 and at the University of Chichester summer ball in West Sussex in 2011. Standing under his real name Yuri Santos, the jury at Chichester Crown Court acquitted him in less than two hours of both charges after a seven-day trial.

He told Daybreak: "I think it definitely tarnishes your reputation because surely there is always going to be out there who wonder 'Why would people say that?', stuff like that.

"It is terrible because sometimes you do get people who do try to put people in situations like this and then it is not fair when the person has gone through the whole process and been found innocent."

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