April 15, 2020
Ibrahim Kabba Turay
Justices Monfred Sesay yesterday 14th April, acquitted and discharged one Kellie Jarawa who was before him on allegations of sexual penetration of a 15-year-old child.
The High Court Judge said sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of accused persons charged with sexual penetration was still a challenge to the court.
The accused was before the court on one count of sexual penetration of a child, contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.
State Prosecutor J.A.K Sesay had alleged that the accused on 27th October, 2017 penetrated a child under the age of 18, to wit 15, but he had denied the charge.
To prove their case, the prosecution summoned five witnesses, but didn’t tender any exhibit.
Whilst reading the judgment, Justice Sesay said, the prosecution had a duty to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction on the offence charged.
The judge noted that he was mindful of the fact that an accused is entitled to an acquittal if there was 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.
The judge noted that it was the duty of the prosecution to prove whether it was the accused that sexually penetrated the victim as the alleged incident happened in a classroom.
He said the voluntary caution statement of the accused was a complete denial of the allegation against him.
The judge referred to the testimony of prosecution witness No.1-the victim who told the court that the accused called her in a classroom and sexually penetrated-an incident she reported to her mother.
The judge said none of the prosecution witnesses in any way corroborated the testimony of the victim.
“The evidence before this court is that of the accused person’s words against the victim that she was a trouble maker in school. On that day the victim was outside while classes were going on. The accused had told the police that because of the victim was outside he decided to give her two lashes on her buttock which made the victim went angrily,” the judge said
The judge said that no corroboration between the testimonies of the three witnesses- the victim, her mother, and her friend.
“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 said.