As High Court re-opens May Criminal Session…

Sexual penetration tops list

 May 16, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The High Court of Sierra Leone yesterday re-opened its criminal session and 15 out of 24 cases before the session were sexual penetration related matters.

Speaking yesterday while sentencing one Mohamed Koroma, who pleaded guilty to a sexual penetration charge, the call-over judge, Justice Alusine Sesay, said sexual penetration matters were on the increase in Sierra Leone, hence painting bad pictures about the country.

The convict was in the High Court to answer to a count charge of sexual penetration, contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.

State Prosecution had alleged that the convict between 1st and 30th July, 2016, had sexual intercourse with a child under age of 18 to wit 13 years.

However, the convict wasted no time to plead guilty, as the charge was read to him by the court registrar.

He pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy.

Pleading for and on behalf of the convict, Lawyer C. Tucker, from the Legal Aid Board of Sierra Leone, asked the court to temper justice with mercy.

He informed the court that the convict was a first time offender and must have learnt his lessons during his stay at the Male Correctional Centre.

She called on the judge to take into cognizance the fact that the convict did not waste the court’s time to plead guilty to the charge,  arguing that he had shown some amount of remorse for his wrongdoing.

State Prosecutor, Josepha A.K Sesay, told the court that the convict was charged with sexual penetration, with preliminary investigation conducted at the Magistrate court, adding that the matter  was later committed to the High Court for trial on  5th December, 2016.

He told the court that if someone is found guilty of sexual penetration, the penalty should be 15 years imprisonment.

He added, “Even though the convict did not waste the court’s time to plead guilty, the judge has to take into cognizance that the rate of such crime is on the increase in the country. The court should send a strong message to people that are in the habit of destroying girls under age 18.”

In his sentencing statement, Justice Sesay said he had listened to both the prosecution and the defending lawyer in the matter, and that since sexual penetration cases are on the increase and has ripple effect on the country, he would sentence the convict as a way of sending out a strong message to others in the habit of destroying girls under the age of 18.

It could be recalled that in 2013, Women in the Media – Sierra Leone (WIMSL), staged a peaceful protest in front of the Sierra Leone main Law Court Building, demanding that the judiciary do something to address the increase in sexual penetration cases in the country.