Rape suspect faces 46 counts of sexual offences against children

Friday, June 19, 2015
Defense counsel Moses Richards and Justice Amadi of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul yesterday clashed over a 46-count charge of various forms of sexual offences against children by one William Bright.

William Bright was accused of rape, attempted rape, child pornography, sexual exploitation, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual advances, indecent assault on female, unlawful detention with intent to defile a child, prohibition of pornography, indecent photographs of children, showing indecent photographs to children, and other offences against a child, which he denied.

When the case was called, defence counsel Moses Richards told the court that he was applying for leave to make an application for the accused to be medically examined to ascertain if he is of sound mind.

He said the reason being that having made certain enquiries from the accused family and distant relations, he had come to a conclusion, and was craving the indulgence of the court to make an order for the accused person to be medically examined before being formally arraigned before the court.

Counsel said the charges against the accused are not large charges that one could take for granted, considering their nature and quantum.

However, Justice Amadi said that in the process of interviewing the accused’s family that the counsel found out that the accused might not be of sound mind, he should have filed the application for the accused to be medically examined without the counsel asking the court.

Amadi said the case was sent to the court since January 2015 and, to date, there was no progress and he did not think that he will be used for anything; so let counsel apply first, but in the meantime the accused was going to take his plea.

When the charges were read to him, the accused said the charges read to him were “ridiculously nonsense”, and that he was not guilty of the charges.

The accused said he did not rape anyone, that he was not a mad man, has been kept in remand for seven months, and is married with children; so “the state wants to spoil” his work.

Counsel Moses Richards then started shouting at the interpreter, saying he should take it easy with the accused, and that if the interpreter was under him, he would have kicked him out.

Justice Amadi said counsel should leave the interpreter alone because he is an official of the court.

Justice Amadi asked counsel Richards to stop shouting at him and to address him properly.

However, counsel Richards started shouting again, saying that if the court had allowed his application for the accused to be medically examined before plea that would have changed everything.

He could not ask him to stop because he (Richards) was not the one before the court.

After the plea taking, DPP asked for an adjournment to call their witnesses.

However, counsel Richards said that since the court said the case had not proceeded for months, the defence was ready to proceed.

The case continues on 16 July 2015.

According to the charge sheet in counts 1 and 2, the accused, William Bright, between the years 2013 and 2014 at Kerr Serign in the KMC within the jurisdiction of the court, had unlawful carnal knowledge of 17- and 14-year-old girls without their consent.

Counts 3 and 4 stated that the accused in the same years and places attempted to have an unlawful carnal knowledge of a 14 and 12-year-old girls without their consent.

Counts 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 stated that the accused in the same years and places took indecent pictures of 12, 14, 17, 12 and 14-year-old girls for the purpose of child pornography.

Counts 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 stated that the accused in the same years and places unlawfully and with sexual intention touched the breasts of 12- and 15-year-old girls, and with a sexual intention to exploit a child touched the breast and buttocks of one 12-year-old girl and three 14-year-old girls.

Count 16 stated that the accused in the same years and places made unlawful sexual advances towards a 15-year-old girl.

Counts 17, 18, and 19 stated that the accused person in the same years and places unlawfully and indecently assaulted 12, 14, and 17-year-old girls by forcing them to undress in his presence.

Counts 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28 stated that the accused in the same years and places detained three 12-year-old girls, four 14-year-old girls, one 15-year-old and one 17-year-old girl in order to sexually assault them.

Counts 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34 stated that the accused in the same years and places published pornography depicting the images of 12, 14 and 17-year-old girls.

Counts 35, 36, 37, and 38 stated that the accused in the same years and places took indecent photographs of 12, 14 and 17-year-old girls.

Counts 39, 40, 41 and 42 stated that the accused in the same years and places showed indecent photographs to one 12-year-old and three 14-year-old girls.

Counts 43, 44, 45 and 46 stated that the accused in the same years and places used one 12-year-old, two 14-year-old and one 17-year-old girl for the production of pornography. 

Author: Halimatou Ceesay