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Judge frees rape suspect, after two-year legal battle

Aug 3, 2010, 1:59 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Special Criminal Court of the high court in Banjul last Friday acquitted and discharged one Alasana Bah for the offence of rape, after a two-year legal battle, during which the prosecution failed to provide substantial evidence against him.

Alasana Bah was charged with rape, contrary to Section 124 and punishable under Section 122 of the Criminal Procedure Code cap 10 Laws of The Gambia.

Mr. Bah was earlier arraigned by the police prosecutors at the Bundung Magistrates' Court, charged with defilement, but he was later charged with rape and arraigned at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul which tried him until his acquittal last Friday.

In delivering judgment, Justice Ikpala stated that the prosecution in support of their case had called in six witnesses and tendered four exhibits.

He said that the totality of the evidence as adduced by the witnesses did not convince him that the accused was culpable of the offence charged.

The judge said the evidence of prosecution witnesses one and two, was not credible and was inconsistent, adding that they did not corroborate.

The accused person opened his defence, and did not call any witness, according to the judge, who went on to give the summary of the evidence as adduced by both the defence and the prosecution.

"I hold that the prosecution did not prove their case against the accused beyond all reasonable doubt, and subsequently I find the accused not guilty. I hereby acquit and discharge him," Justice Ikpala announced.

Prosecutors in their indictment claimed that Mr. Bah had unlawful carnal knowledge of an under-age girl sometime in 2008 without her consent.

The defence counsel L.K. Mboge told this reporter that he was pleased with the verdict of the judge, and declared that his client is innocent.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Justice Ikpala also on the same day delivered judgment in the manslaughter trial of Dawda Bah, alias Yanka of Perseverance Street in Banjul.

He found him guilty of the offence charged, and sentenced him to five years in prison for manslaughter.

The accused was earlier indicted on a charge of murder, but was found guilty of manslaughter, following the court’s evaluation of the evidence before it.

The convict was said to have caused the death of one Cherno Jagne, alias Chee Boy by stabbing him with a broken bottle, sometime in 2008.

The judge, in his judgment, stated that the prosecution had called in eight witnesses and tendered five exhibits, while the convict testified on his own behalf, and did not call any witness.

He added that he had found the accused guilty of manslaughter, instead of murder, and sentenced him to five years in prison with hard labour.

The accused pleaded for mercy, before the verdict was pronounced.

Lawyer B.S. Touray held brief for the accused person's counsel, Sagarr C.T. Jahateh.