Prosecution closes case in alleged gang rape trial

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The prosecution led by State Counsel Lamin Jarju yesterday 21 November 2017 closed the prosecution case in the criminal matter involving Muhammed Hydara and Balema Sokhna.

The prosecution alleged that the two accused persons and another Dembo Mahanira now at large on 16 June 2016 (during last year’s Ramadan) unlawfully had sexual intercourse with a sixteen-year-old girl without her consent at Miseraba Mariama village in the Upper River Region.

The sixth and last witness, Yusupha Manneh, a detective police officer, formerly attached to Fatoto Police Station but now moved to the police headquarters in Banjul in his evidence, told the court that he recognised the accused persons.

He narrated that on the alleged day of the incident he was at Fatoto Police Station when he received a complaint involving a rape offence which prompted him to mount investigations and subsequently arrested the accused persons.

The witness revealed that upon interrogations of the accused persons, they admitted committing the alleged offence, thereafter their statements were obtained.

Police officer Manneh explained that he visited the crime scene (the house of Balema Sokhna) where he recovered the victim’s wrapper and a pair of shoe (slipper) in the bedroom of Balema Sokhna.

The witness identified the recovered items and they were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits.

The witness told the court that at the crime scene he observed that the bed was disorganised and unkempt.

Responding to questions during cross-examination, the witness told the court that when he visited the crime scene he met Balema’s mother, wife and his brother whom he interviewed.

He further told the court that Muhammed Hydara and Dembo Mahinera escaped from police custody at Basse Police Station but Muhammed Hydara was re-arrested a few days later after their escapade, noting that Dembo Mahanira was never found.

The officer, however, informed the court that he has been reliably informed that Dembo Mahanira has been seen in the said village of Miseraba Mariama.

Hearing continues.

Author: Bruce Asemota in Basse