Court name
High Court
Case number
SLHC 1 of 2020
Case name
S v Jackson
Law report citations
Media neutral citation
[2020] SLHC 13
Judge
Allieu, J

S v JACKSON

(2020) SIERRA LEONE JUDGMENT

 

In the High Court of Sierra Leone

On Wednesday, the 22nd Day of April 2020

                                           Suit No: SLHC 001 (2020) (22nd April, 2020)

 

CORAM

HON. Mr. Justice John Bosco Allieu   JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL OF S.L

 

Between

THE STATE

Prosecution

 

Vs

MICHEAL JACKSON

Accussed

 

Ratio/Holding:

 

Sexual penetration of a child

 

Cases Cited:

Woolmington Vs DPP A.C. pg 481-482

R. V. Stoddart 2Cr App R 217

 

Legislation Referenced:

Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (Section 19)

 

Other Sources Referenced

Evidence & Practice in Criminal Cases, 36th Edition

Butler & Garcia, 1995 Reprint WM.W. Gaunt & Sons Inc

 

JUDGEMENT DELIVERED THIS DAY 22ND APRIL 2020, J.B ALLIEU J.A

 

After the close of the case for the Accused, the respective Counsel in this case intimated this I Ion. Court that they will submit written closing addresses. They however failed to do so despite several adjournments and this file was withdrawn for Judgment.

 

Where the Accused pleads ""NOT GUILTY"" to an offence as charged. the Prosecution is obliged to prove at the trial every fact or circumstances stated in the indictment which is material and necessary to constitute the offence charged. The burden of proof of guilt lies upon the Prosecution and it is not for the Defence to prove innocence-sec the observations of Sankey L C in Woolmington Vs DP!' ( 1935) A.C. at page 481-482.

 

If there is a real state of doubt. the Prosecution has failed to satisfy the onus of proof which lies upon him-R.V. Stoddart 2 Cr App R 217.  For the principles as enunciated. sec paragraph

100 I. page 361 Archbold Pleading, Evidence Practice in Criminal Cases. 36th edition.

Butler and Garsia, 1995 Reprint WM. W Gaunt & Sons Inc.

 

In the instant case, the Accused is charged under Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act. 2012. Act No 12 of2012 which states as follows:-

 

"A person who engages in an act of Sexual Penetration with a child commits an offence and is liable on convection to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years·•.

In the Interpretation Section of the said Act, that is. Section I thereof: "Child" means a person under the age of I 8

''Sexual Penetration means any act which causes the penetration  to any extent of the vagina. anus or mouth of a person by the penis or any other part of the body of another person or by an object".

In relation to the Statute and the aforesaid definition, it is imperative for the Prosecution to prove the following:-

  1. That the victim is a child

 

  1. That there was an act of Sexual Penetration.

 

  1. That the act was perpetrated by the Accused.

 

  1. If there is any real state of doubt in the proof of the Prosecution's case. then such doubt, should be resolved in favour of the Accused.

 

On the issue of corroboration, the Principle of Law is that in all cases of Sexual Offences, corroboration is required- see paragraph 1299 page 484 Archbold Pleading, Evidence & Practice in Criminal Cases, 36th Edition. Butler & Garsia. 1995 Reprint WM. W. Gaunt & Sons Inc. What is required is independent testimony which affects the accused by tending to connect him with the crime, that is, evidence direct or circumstantial, which implicates the Accused in some material particular that the Accused committed the offence see paragraph   1296 page 482.  Archbold Pleading.  Evidence & Practice in Criminal Cases, 36th Edition. Butler & Garsia, 1995 Reprint WM.  W. Gaunt & Sons Inc. In the instant case, one of the issues which is uncontroverted, according to the evidence, is that the victim, P.W. 3, Raymond Richmond Fangawa, a 17 (seventeen) years old pupil was arrested and taken to the Wilberforce Police Post where he was detained on allegations of Larceny. The Accused was the night Orderly, and the Police Officer whom he relieved, P.W. I, Tamba Morsay had locked the victim in cells before leaving the Police Post. The Accused, later in the night, unlocked the victim from the cells and took him to the Guard Post where he provided food for him. The cells and the Guard Post are not situated in the same building. Rather the Guard Post is situated a bit farther from the cells.

What is however in controversy is that the victim, PW 3, Raymond Richmond Fangawa testified that the accused Sexually Penetrated his anus in the Guard Post which said sexual assault made him sick. The Accused, on the other hand, in his statements made to the Police, "Exs,B and C", told the Police Investigators that the victim became sick whilst in the cells, banged on the door and pleaded with the accused to unlock him, and the Accused, out of sympathy for the victim, unlocked him and took him to the Guard Post where both of them slept. Another issue that is uncontroverted, according to the evidence, is that the case file containing the report of Larceny against the victim was tom to pieces at the time when the said victim and the Accused were together at the Police Post. What is however in controversy is that the victim, PW 3, Raymond Richmond Fangawa testified that the Accused promised to help him with his case and that after the Accused had sexually penetrated his anus, he tore the file and threw the pieces out of the window. The Accused, on the other hand, in his statement made to the Police, "Exs B and C" said that it occurred to him that the victim may have tom the file. He made this revelation in the morning, to his boss, the Crime Officer, Inspector Cole, after the said Inspector Cole had reported for duty and searched for the file but could not find it based on which he enquired for the file from the said Accused.

In the instant case, what is apparent is that there was no independent testimony from a witness which could have corroborated the testimony of the victim, P W 3, Raymond Richmond Fangawa tending connect the accused with the offence committed. However, the accused's own evidence may afford the necessary corroboration, as may also his conduct in the circumstances of the particular case- see  R V Medcraft 23 cr App

R.  116. Also R V Blatherwick 6 er. App R. 281. In effect, was the Accused justified in unlocking the victim from the cells without making an entry in the desk diary as to the reason or unlocking the victim from the cells and taking  him  to the guard  post  where  both of them spent the night together? The Accused, in ·'Exs Band C' admitted that he

was in breach of Police procedures, by acting in the aforesaid manner.

 

Furthermore, why was the case tile containing the report of Larceny against the victim

was torn to pieces when the Accused, as the night orderly, was supposed to be in custody or the said file? Clearly, the accused bears the responsibility for any case tile damaged during the time he was on duty.

But it is for the Prosecution to prove his case against the accused and not for the Accused to prove his innocence.

It is however my considered view that the conduct of the Accused in the circumstances of this particular case provides the necessary corroboration which implicates him. ,which confirms in some material particular that he committed the offence as charged.

I am left in no doubt that the conduct of the Accused by unlocking the victim from the cell; and taking him to spend the night at the guard post, in breach of Police procedures, was  of   the   purpose   of   sexually   assaulting   him   and which   he  the  accused did. Furthermore, I am left in no doubt that it was the Accused who tore the  case  file  containing the report of Larceny against the victim in  fulfillment  of  his  promise  to the said victim that he would help him with the case after he, the Accused, had sexually penetrated the anus of the victim with his penis.

Based on all the foregoing, the Accused is hereby FOUND GUILTY of the offence as charge.

 

Having listened and taking into consideration the plea in mitigation made for and on behalf of the Accused by his Cousnel, the ACCUSED IS HEREBY SENTENCED TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OF 10 YEARS