May 17, 2017, 11:28 AM
The verdict was contained in a ruling delivered on the no-case-to-answer submission filed by the defence counsel for the accused, after the prosecution had announced the closure of their case.
In his ruling, Justice Amadi said the accused, Pap Fula Jamanka, is standing trial on a single count of rape.
According to the charge sheet read in court, in April 2011 in Manjai Kunda, the accused had unlawful carnal knowledge of a 10-year-old girl (name withheld) without her consent, which the accused denied.
He said the prosecution, in trying to prove their case, called five witnesses and tendered exhibits.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the accused through his counsel made a no-case-to-answer submission, he said, adding that the defence counsel in her submission referred to the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses and the exhibits tendered in court.
The counsel argued that the basis of no-case-to-answer submission provided for under section 166 of the CPC was that if after the closure of the prosecution’s case the court saw that there was no prima facie case against the accused, the court should acquit and discharge him or her.
He said the counsel adduced that in the charge of rape the issue to be considered was whether sexual intercourse occurred, and whether it occurred without the consent of the other party.
He added that counsel, therefore, said there was nothing before the court that stated that sexual intercourse took place, stating that the prosecution had failed to lay a prima facie case against the accused hence called on the court to acquit and discharge the accused.
The state, replying to the defence counsel’s submission, said a no-case-to-answer submission is made when the prosecution failed to prove the essential elements in the case or when the evidence of the prosecution witnesses has been discredited during cross-examination, he said.
According to the state, he added, the accused person needed to offer an explanation as to why the victim and the accused were both found naked in the accused’s house.
He said the state counsel, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the submission and call on the accused to enter into his defence.
Justice Amadi said he had gone through the submissions made by the state and the defence, as well as the exhibits before the court.
He said the defence said the prosecution had failed to lay a prima facie case against the accused, and the accused in the statements denied the act.
He said PW4 said that there was a complaint against the accused that he was trying to have a carnal knowledge of the victim.
He said the victim was taken to the Serrekunda Hospital and they visited a gynecologist, who checked her and said there was no injury found on her. He said the prosecution tendered the medical report as exhibit in court.
Justice Amadi said PW5 stated that on 30 April one Naffie came to the charge office at Manjai Kunda Police Station with a girl, and stated that the accused had sex with the victim.
He said the evidence of PW4 and PW5 are inconsistent because PW4 said the accused was trying to have carnal knowledge of the victim and PW5 said the victim had sex with the accused, and they went to arrest the accused.
He said the victim while testifying said she knew the accused, and that she was with her friend when the accused called them to help sweep his house.
He said the victim said while she was sweeping the accused’s room, the accused came in and closed the door and asked her to lie down, and he pulled out a knife and threatened to kill her if she did not do what he said, and that the accused started undressing herself.
According to the judge, the victim stated that her friend went to call one Fula man who came and took her and her friend to his place, and one Naffie came and took her to the station.
He said the victim under cross-examination said the accused did not touch her private parts.
He said there was no evidence before the court that the victim was pushed onto the bed, and no one said in his or her evidence that the girl is ten years old.
He added that, unfortunately, the said Naffie was not called in court as a witness.
He said the victim’s evidence was that the accused did nothing to her, and that it was when she was undressing that the Fula man came in and took her away and it was consistent with the medical report.
Justice Amadi said: “It was clear that the prosecution did not lay a prima facie case against the accused and, therefore, the accused is acquitted and discharged.”