November 23, 2021
By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
Justice John Bosco Allieu has acquitted and discharged one Patrick Pearce on the offence of Sexual Penetration after the prosecution failed to tender before the court the Voluntary Charge Statement of the accused person.
Patrick Pearce was before the court on a one count indictment of Sexual Penetration of a child contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2012, Act No. 12 of 2012.
The State prosecution, Albert Kargbo, alleged that the accused on the 19th day of May 2017 in Freetown engaged in an act of sexual penetration with a child.
State prosecutor, Alberta Kargbo, led in evidence four witnesses including the 12- year- old victim and her mother during the course of the trial.
In her testimony, the first prosecution witness and victim in the matter recognised the accused.
She recalled that she was at home washing dishes when her mother sent her to collect some plantain from the store.
She said the store was dark and that she went to the accused and requested for a torchlight.
She stressed that the accused told her that he didn’t have torchlight but he grabbed her and forced her into the room.
She continued that the accused grabbed her and removed her pant and had sexual intercourse with her.
She further stated that she felt pain during the process and tried to resist and in the process had her mother calling her, but she was unable to answer.
She narrated that with her slippers left outside the room, her mother pushed the door from the outside while the accused pushed from the inside.
The mother reported the matter at the Eastern Police Station and investigation mounted into the matter.
In her evidence in Chief, the third prosecution witness, Dr. Olabisi Claudius Cole, one of the Medical Doctors attached to the Rainbow Centre, said she examined the victim and found out that her hymen was completely ruptured.
After the close of the Prosecution’s case, the accused opted to give evidence on oath and to call one Abdul K. Turay as witness who testified on his behalf.
Delivering his judgement, Justice John Bosco Allieu noted that “it is with constraint that I cannot refer to the Voluntary Charge Statement and or the Charge Statement of the Accused. The simple reason being that both the Voluntary Charge Statement and the Charge Statement were not tendered in evidence by the Prosecution.”
“The importance of tendering the Voluntary Charge Statement and Charge Statement of an Accused person in a criminal trial cannot be overemphasized as it forms part of the case of the prosecution and the accused as well,” he stated.
Justice John Bosco Allieu concluded that “in effect, this court cannot turn a blind eye to such prosecutorial blunders and therefore finds the accused not guilty of the offence charged. The Accused is hereby accordingly acquitted and discharged.”
In another matter, Justice John Bosco Allieu also acquitted and discharged one Gbewa Lahai on the offence of House Breaking and Larceny contrary to Section 26(1) of the Larceny Act 1916.
It was alleged that the accused on the 17th Day of March 2019, in Freetown, broke into and entered the dwelling house of Fatmata Juliet Nicholas with intent to steal therein fiscal cash and other items all valued One Hundred and Thirteen Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Thousand Leones (Le 113,530,000/00).
In his judgement, Justice John Bosco Allieu noted that ” based on the foregoing, there’s a doubt, a real doubt created in my mind that it was the accused who committed the offence as charged in the indictment.”
He said “the position of the Law is that the Accused should be given the benefit of the doubt and is hereby found not guilty of the offence as charged in the indictment dated 11th May 2020. The Accused is hereby accordingly acquitted and discharged of the offence as charged.”