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Rape suspect acquitted and discharged

Jul 27, 2012, 1:19 PM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

The Special Criminal Court yesterday acquitted and discharged one Alhagie Njie, a teacher at the St John’s School for the Deaf, who was charged with rape.

According to the particulars of offence, on 28 February 2011, at Bundung Bantaba, the accused person, Alhagie Njie, allegedly had carnal knowledge of a 19-year-old girl.

Justice Emmanuel Nkea, in his judgment, stated that the prosecution led through four witnesses and tendered three exhibits in support of their case, while the accused testified as a lone witness and tendered one exhibit in support of his defence.

The judge adduced that the prosecution’s case was centered on PW1 and PW4 who were both partially deaf and dumb, and the accused was a teacher at the St John’s School for the Deaf.

He said PW4 testified that the incident happened on 28 January, but she could not remember the year when the accused summoned her to his house to teach her sign language.

According to the trial judge, PW4 said when she got there, the accused closed the door and at that point she tried to run away, but she was held back by the accused person, and there was a struggle between them, the accused pushed her onto the bed and pulled her shirt and pant, and she shouted but nobody came to her aid.

The judge further elucidated that the accused had denied the charge both at the police and his testimony before the court, adding that as far as the offence was concerned, it was his view that there were three issues to be corroborated, the act of the sexual intercourse, the element of consent, or lack of it, and the identity of the perpetrator with regard to the issue of sexual intercourse.

The judge adduced that there was no corroborating evidence whether direct or circumstantial, leading to the support of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses that the sexual intercourse was an act of the accused.

He stated that he had genuine doubt in his mind whether it was the accused and or someone else who had carnal knowledge of the victim, adding that the law was settled that where doubt in a criminal case, such doubt should be resolved in favour of the accused.

Justice Nkea stated that he held that the prosecution had failed to lead credible evidence to prove the charge with certainty required by the law.

“I hereby acquit and discharge the accused person accordingly,” Justice Nkea stated.