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Marine's accuser now 'not certain'

A FILIPINO woman whose accusations of rape led to the conviction of a US Marine has altered her testimony and emigrated to the United States, saying she was no longer certain that a crime took place, a lawyer said yesterday.

The case has strained US-Philippine military relations amid calls for the scrapping of a pact allowing US troops to train Filipino soldiers, and has become a rallying point for anti-American protests.

Three years after Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was convicted of rape and sentenced to 40 years in jail, his accuser submitted a five-page affidavit to an appeals court saying she now doubted her own version of events.

"My conscience continues to bother me realizing that I may have in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith that he was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we simply just got carried away," the woman said in the statement.

She described the two as drinking, kissing and dancing at a bar at the former US Naval base at Subic Bay before moving to a van, where she originally told the court she was raped after she passed out. Smith had insisted the sex was consensual.

The turnabout has shocked her supporters, including lawyer Evalyn Ursua, who said her client terminated her services this week then moved to the US to start a new life and was no longer willing to talk.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the woman could be charged with perjury and her affidavit may not be admitted as new evidence because it should have been introduced during the 2006 trial.

The US Embassy in Manila is consulting American legal experts about the case. Smith, 23, from St. Louis, Missouri, is detained at the US Embassy while his case is on appeal.


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