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Saturday, July 2, 2022

65-year-old man discharged for want of prosecution

By Yusufu S. Bangura

After spending one year, two months on remand for alleged sexual penetration, a sixty-five-year- old man, Charlie Deen has finally been acquitted and discharged by Justice Mohamed Bawoh presiding over cases at the Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown, for wants of prosecution.

The accused was before the court on one count indictment of sexual penetration contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2012, Act No. 12 of 2012, as repealed and replaced by Section 4 (a) (ii) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2019, Act No. 8 of 2019.

Charlie was alleged to have on a date unknown between the 1st day of December 2020 and the 31st of December 2020, in Freetown, engaged in an act of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 18 to wit 14 years.

At the start of the trial, State Prosecutor, Elizabeth T. Jalloh, made an application for trial by judge alone instead of Judge and jury, an application that was granted by the Hon. Judge.

Given brief fact of the matter, Justice Bawoh said during the trial, the prosecution called four witnesses to testify in respect of the matter, including the police investigator who made a statement of alibi that indeed the accused told him that he was not at home during the alleged incident, but that such was never investigated by the police.

Justice Bawoh said he found out that the victim is under the age of 18 and that the accused did say he knows the victim, but during the proceedings the accused denied the allegation of sexual penetration.

Going further, Justice Bawoh said when the mother of the victim was testifying in court, she never mentioned that she saw the accused sexually penetrated the victim, but it was only the victim that said the accused sexually penetrated her.

He said the prosecution did not show any proof  that the accused had sexual intercourse with the victim.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Mohamed Bawoh said sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the accused person charged with sexual penetration, was still a challenge to the court.

The judge noted that he was mindful of the fact that an accused is entitled to an acquittal if there is no direct or circumstantial evidence to establish his guilt, and that he was also aware that any iota of doubt must be in favour of the accused person.

 “I have advised myself that any doubt must be resolved in favour of the accused person. It is my view that this accused is not guilty of the offence of sexual penetration. I therefore acquit and discharge him,” he orderd.

The accused was represented by Lawyer Harold Momoh from Legal Aid Board.

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