A man who was charged with a single count of attempted rape at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court has been discharged by Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke for what he called lack of diligent prosecution.
Magistrate Abeke said the trial of attempted rape charge against Momodou Lamin Badjie had not proceeded for seven months, saying the accused person cannot be held to ransom.
When the case was called, state counsel L. Jarju told the court that they have no witness to testify in court. He described the case as a complicated one, saying it has put the prosecution in a dilemma, as their witnesses are not willing to come to court even after the court granted the prosecution’s earlier application for a subpoena to be served on a witness.
State counsel Jarju added that upon the witness receiving the sermon, he (the witness) went to the Attorney General requesting for a withdrawal of the case.
Jarju said the Attorney General admitted the letter and requested for the facts of the case, to which he said, they have complied and now waiting for the reply to either proceed or withdraw the case.
State counsel Jarju further informed the court that the witnesses, an Imam and his family, are not willing to come to court claiming they are Muslims who believe in an Islamic faith and that they cannot come to court.
“We had to call another witness who is a medical doctor but I don’t even know which hospital the medical report I have in court came from. On that note, I will ask for further adjournment. I apologise to the court and the accused person because several adjournments have been granted at the request of the prosecution,” the state counsel said.
The presiding magistrate in his ruling told the court that the accused person was charged with attempted rape which was contrary to Section 123 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He said the case was brought to court on 5th November 2015.
He added that on 2nd December, the prosecution called its first witness who testified in the case and on the same date, the prosecution applied for a subpoena (a writ ordering a person to attend a court) to be served on one Ebrima Jobe of Manjai Kunda to come to court and testify.
Magistrate Abeke said the case did not proceed since that date with several state counsels announcing their representation in the case. He further called the attention of the parties to Section 24 (a) and (b) of the Constitution which he said calls for a fair hearing within a reasonable time.
The magistrate added that the accused is not under any duty to prove a case against him or prove his innocence.
“Relying on the submission and application made by the state counsel today, the court is convinced that the state is no longer interested in prosecuting the case after it has suffered seven months of non proceeding. The accused is therefore accordingly discharged.”
by Meita Touray