IN THE HIGH COURT OF SIERRA LEONE
HOLDEN IN FREETOWN
ABU BAKARR SANNOH
RREPRESENTATION FOR THE PROSECUTION: J.B. KAMARA AND M.P. SESAY ESQ.
INDICTMENT NO: AG/2022/062C/R NO.956/2022
JUDGMENT DATED THE 17TH DAY OF JANUARY 2023
BEFORE THE HON. MR. JUSTICE MOHAMED ALHAJI MOMOH-JAH STEVENS JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE REPUBIC OF SIERRA LEONE.
AT THE SEXUAL OFFENCES MODEL COURT, FREETOWN
The Accused, Abu BakarrSannoh is Indicted by the State on a Count of Sexual Penetration contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2012, Act No 12 of 2012 as repealed and replaced by Section 4(a)(iii) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act N0. 8 of 2019. The State alleged that the Accused, Abu Bakar Sannohon dates unknown between the 13th and 17th November 2021 at Freetown in the western Area of the republic of Sierra Leone , engaged in an act of sexual penetration with a child aged Sixteen Years.
The Accused pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution filed a trial by a Judge alone application instead of a Judge and jury and which said Instrument is signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions dated the 16thJanuary 2023 in accordance with Section 144(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 32 of 1965 as repealed and replaced by Section 3 of the Criminal Procedure (amendment) Act N0.11 of 1981.
This Honourable Court grants the application for the Accused to be tried by the a Judge alone instead of a Judge and Jury in accordance with Section 144(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act as amended because in the view of the law ‘ is as of cause’. A process the Prosecution believes will expedite justice delivery and fairness.
In support of its case , the Prosecution called Three Witnesses.
The First Prosecution Witness is the Victim a School pupil in SSS2 who is Sixteen Years of age. She identified the Accused as a neighbour. According to the victim, on the date of the incident, she was coming from school when she came across the Accused in the neighbourhood who dragged her into his room, removed her school uniform, pulled out a knife and threaten to kill her. The Accused laid her on the bed and penetrated his penis into her vagina. The Victim says she saw blood coming out of vagina and the stain of blood she also saw on the penis of the Accused. The Victim went home and did not reveal her ordeal.
According to the Victim, her parent knew about the incident through a mobile communication subsequently the Victim was having with the Accused.
In Cross examination, the Victim reiterated that the knife the Accused used to threaten to kill her was inside the very room the Accused penetrated her vagina with his penis.
The Second Prosecution Witness, Madam Susan Dubumya, the mother of the Victim who read through a mobile in the possession of the Victim, between the Accused and the Victim. The Victim thereafter divulged to her mum that the Accused had penetrated her in his bed room with his penis. The mother of the Victim called on the Accused who was resident to a tenant of the Victim’s mother in the same compound where they all lived as neighbours. The Accused responded to the call made by the mother of the Victim and when the Accused was confronted with sexual allegation by the mother of the Victim, vis-à-vis the Accused and the Victim, the Accused denied the allegation but he immediately fled and vamoosed. The matter was reported to the Police according to the Second Prosecution Witness and the Police issued a Medical Request Form, the Victim went to Rainbow Centre where she was examined and treated.
The Third Prosecution Witness, a Police Officer, who testified that the Accused was arrested on the 29th September 2022 after a marathon search instituted by the Police since the offence was allegedly committed between the 13th to the 17th September 2021. Almost a year after the allegation the Accused was in hiding.
The Endorsed Medical Report was tendered and there is corroboration that indeed the vagina of the Victim has been penetrated and hymen completely raptured.
The Accused was cautioned by the Police and he made a Voluntary Cautioned Statement and in same the Accused confessed that the allegation made against him of having penetrated his penis into the vagina of the Victim is ‘true’.
The Prosecution closed its case.
At the commencement of Defence case, the Accused has no witness and he relied on his Statement he made to the Police.
The Accused was charged by the Attorney General as it is provided by the Sexual Offences Act 2019 as amended that such an Indictment can be signed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice
The Law in question is very simple as I see it. The Accused was in a relation with the Victim. But according to the Sexual Offences Act 2012 as amended by the Sexual Offences Act of 2019, a Child is defined as a person who is under Eighteen years of age. The Victim is Sixteen years under the age of the Victim. The issue of consent before sex does not apply because the Victim is below Eighteen Years, and the Accused can not even plead consent because of the age of the victim.
On the other side of the law if a Victim is above Eighteen Years and that Victim refused to consent the allegation there shall be referred to rape under the Sexual Offences Act of 2012 as amended.
The issue about Confessional Statement, I hold the legal position that once an Accused has made such statement without coercion, intimidation or threat of being suffered harm, the said Statement is admissible under the Laws of Sierra Leone. I hold that the Accused is guilty for the Offence indicted.
I therefore found the Accused guilty for the Offence of Sexual Penetration contrary to Section 4(a)(iii) of the Sexual Offences Act 2019 as amended as the prosecution has proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.
ALLOCUTUS—the Accused asked for mercy.
The Accused is sentence to Ten Years Imprisonment for penetrating the vagina of a victim with his penis who is Sixteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offence.
Justice Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens JA.