Court acquits and discharges suspect

Friday, November 03, 2017

The High Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Simeon A. Abi on Tuesday 31 October 2017 acquitted and discharged one Modou Lamin Jammeh after the court declared that the prosecution failed to prove the charge of attempted rape against him.

Delivering judgment, the trial judge disclosed that the accused was charged with attempted rape and the prosecution alleged that the accused, on 9 July 2015 at Talinding attempted to have carnal knowledge of a year and ten months old child without her consent.

The Judge said the prosecution called five witnesses and tendered exhibits whilst the accused testified alone in his defence, adding that at the close of evidence written briefs were ordered.

Justice S.A. Abi said after careful examination of the evidence of all the prosecution witnesses he did not find any evidence that gave him an inkling that the accused attempted to rape the victim.

He said the evidence-in-chief of the mother of the victim, PW 2 in this case, which was the closest to an eye witness account, fell short of making any direct accusation that the accused did something to the victim.

The trial Judge pointed out that during her cross-examination she answered clearly that when she met her daughter in the house of the accused, she was sleeping and not crying.

He revealed that it was an indication that nothing had happened to the victim while she slept in the house of the accused. The victim of course was said to be a year and ten months at the time and could supply no detail of anything whatsoever.

Justice Abi noted that the medical report Exhibit 2 confirmed that there were no bruises or lacerations, and the evidence of the Doctor was that there was no reddening of the vagina.

He averred that the Doctor who conducted the examinations conceded that though he took a swab of what he confirmed was sperm from the vagina but did not do a test to confirm the origin of the sperm.

He further averred that the police had the accused in custody all the while and could have just walked him to the hospital for the test at that time to verify the origin of the alleged sperm but never did. 

He said PW 3, who identified himself as the Investigating Police Officer, when asked in cross-examination, made it clear that he recommended prosecution based on the story told to him by the mother of the victim. 

He pointed out that it was the duty of the investigating police officer to unravel what seems not too clear in the evidence before him or her in order to come to a conclusion of whether or not an offence had in fact been committed warranting a charge to be laid against the suspect. 

He declared that the allegation of crime against any person is a very serious issue and must be treated with all seriousness, especially an allegation of offences that are serious felonies.

He cautioned that it would not suffice for the police to hurriedly put together a case file and hope that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions would wave a magic wand and obtain a conviction in all cases.

Justice Abi therefore declared that he was not satisfied that the accused attempted to have sexual intercourse with the victim based on the evidence on record.

The trial Judge therefore dismissed the charge of attempted rape against the accused and he was accordingly acquitted and discharged.

Author: Bruce Asemota