A young man who was facing attempted rape and other sexual related charges at a Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, has been acquitted and discharged by Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke.
Babucarr Bah was put on trial on five charges; ranging from attempted rape to unlawful detention, kidnapping and abduction and sexual exploitation of a child. He had denied the allegations since the beginning of the trial.
Magistrate Abeke acquitted and discharged Mr Bah after a two-year legal tussle between him and the state, on grounds that the evidence laid by the prosecution was contradictory and doubtful to the court.
In his judgment, Magistrate Abeke said the prosecution had called 6 witnesses while the accused testified alone without calling any witness.
He said the evidence laid before the court by the principal complainant (father of the 4-year-old child) and his family, stated that Mr Bah, a shopkeeper, had put his finger inside the private part of the four-year-old child inside his shop from which she (the child) sustained injury.
The magistrate said two police officers, three family members of the complaint and a medical doctor had testified as prosecution witnesses in the case. He added that the investigating officer of the case Kebba Jarra was never called to testify during the trial. He said Zainab Jallow, a nurse at the Serekunda General Hospital, who was said to have conducted an examination on the child victim was equally not in the court to testify.
Magistrate Abeke further told the court that Dr Babanding Daffeh from the Serekunda General Hospital, who testified as 6th prosecution witness, in his testimony disclosed that the genital examination conducted on the victim showed that there was no rape. He said Dr Daffeh’s evidence showed that there was no bleeding or rash on the genital part of the child.
He said the prosecution had failed to call an independent witness to testify, which he said could be very vital in their case. He added that the evidence of the child which was heard in chambers and that of the family members, plus the medical certificate, did not corroborate.
“The complainant’s father held the law in his hand by personally arresting the accused and forced him into his own private car. I found as a fact that the prosecution has woefully failed to prove a case against the accused. Relying on the evidence of the prosecution to convict the accused would mean sending an innocent person to prison,” said Abeke.
He said the defence evidence was unchallenged and had raised no doubt to the court. Magistrate Abeke freed Mr Bah of five related sexual offence charges.
Magistrate Abeke ordered for all the documents deposited by Bah at the court and any other authority to be returned to him.
by Meita Touray